1 February 2016

Nigeria, Italy to Pledge to Strengthen Bilateral Relations

Photo: The Guardian
President Muhammadu Buhari with Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

Abuja — Nigeria and Italy have pledged to work towards strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries. This was part of the decision reached between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a meeting between the two leaders in Abuja,

Renzi, who was on a stop-over visit to Buhari en-route Ghana met behind closed doors for about two hours, where they discussed issues bordering on politics, economy and security.

At a joint press briefing after the meeting at the fore court of State House, Buhari said both countries would intensify efforts to find common ground for better economic and security partnerships.

Welcoming the Italian leader to the Presidential Villa, the President thanked his guest for prioritising matters that concern Nigeria and promised to cooperate fully with Italy on all topics of importance.

Buhari said, "We discussed majorly in terms of development of petroleum resources and supporting us with training and equipping our security forces to check illegal immigration."

The President said their bilateral discussion also included the need to prioritise agriculture in the face of falling prices of crude oil which is Nigeria's economic and export backbone.

"We discussed agriculture, which is one of the areas we identify that will be a priority in the face of dwindling oil prices," Buhari said.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister said he's in Nigeria to highlight the common ideas and values that the two countries share, adding that his government has identified Nigeria as a key ally in the war on terror and illegal migration.

Renzi, 41, also promised to ensure improved cooperation with Nigeria in areas of security, energy, agriculture and small and medium scale ventures.

"Italy will improve cooperation with Nigeria in areas of security, energy, agriculture and small and medium enterprise," the PM said.

Renzi further vowed to work with Nigeria and the global community to ensure a prompt destruction of Boko Haram, adding that the will of Nigerians will not be broken by the insurgency.

"All the sentiment and friendship Italian government about the attacks of terrorists is that they know the world will destroy them," he said. "The international community is focused and determined to destroy them."

Renzi's visit came two days after the insurgents launched a deadly attack on Dalori, just outside Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, which is the epicentre of the insurgency that began nearly 7 years ago.

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