Republic of Benin not aspiring to be part of Nigeria — Onyeama

The Federal Government has called for deepening of trade relations between Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran as Iran considers direct shipping and flight to Nigeria.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Geoffrey Onyeama, made the appeal on Thursday during a bilateral meeting with the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

This was disclosed in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja by the ministry.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both ministers had the meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.

Onyeama reminded the Iranian Foreign Minister that Nigeria and Iran have excellent relations, saying that Nigeria will be very happy under the cooperation and engagement of Amir-Abdollahian to improve even more, the relationship between both countries.

“We are two big countries in our respective sub-regions, but unfortunately, the level of trade is not what it should be. And we should do a lot more.

“And we were trying to also discuss on how this should not interrupt our trade and how we can also work together to improve that aspect of our trade,” Onyeama said.

In his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian said envoys of both countries, with a great deal of hard work and focus and in all seriousness, were pursuing the further development of the relationship between Nigeria and Iran.

He added that exchanges between both countries were testament to the fact that both countries were very serious, focused and motivated to improve relations.

“Mr Minister, as you do know, both countries have very high capacities for mutual cooperation.

“But as you said, the level of trade, collaboration and cooperation between our two countries is not at the satisfactory level, particularly when we look at the level of political cooperation that exists between the two nations.

“And of course, as you do know, Your Excellency, the private sector from both of our respective countries, are very keen on developing and progressing their ties with one another,” he said.

Amir-Abdollahian further said in order to realise the desired higher volume and commercial trade between both countries, Iran is seeking and studying how to best establish direct shipping route from Iran to Nigeria.

He said Iran had no issues or challenges whatsoever in completely removing any type of obstacle that may hamper the progress of trade between both countries.

The Iranian Foreign Minister also said in the beginning, Iran can do its very best where it is needed in order to remove or lessen any restricted duties that may exist.

Amir-Abdollahian added that subsequently, Iran is ready and very much willing to best analyse on how to go swiftly about the removal of such duties that exist between both countries.

Amir-Abdollahian disclosed that Iranian-based Mahan Airlines is fully willing, ready and capable to establish direct flights route from Tehran to Lagos.

He added that Iran stood ready and willing to swiftly review in depth, the previous agreements between both countries, activate them where possible and also establish as soon as possible, a joint economic commission in Tehran.

(NAN)

Vanguard News Nigeria

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