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Honourable Minister Of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru Holds Bilateral Discussions With The Deputy Prime Minister And Minister Of Foreign Affairs Of Thailand, His Excellency, Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul

By TheNigerianVoice-TNV
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The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, MFR, today, 19th August, 2013, held bilateral discussions with the visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency, Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

2. Welcoming Mr. Tovichakchaikul to Nigeria, Amb. Ashiru thanked him and his entourage for the visit, and expressed the hope that the bilateral engagement would lead to closer cooperation between Nigeria and Thailand in the areas of economic relations, security, political consultation, including regional cooperation in West Africa and South East Asia, as well as the promotion of the welfare of nationals living in both countries.

3. Responding, Mr. Tovichakchaikul thanked Amb. Ashiru for the warm reception accorded his delegation, and expressed profound pleasure that the bilateral discussion between the two countries was taking place, symbolizing his country's strong desire for closer relations with Nigeria. He thanked the Nigerian Government for the release of Thai nationals recently kidnapped in Nigeria and expressed the hope that both sides would reach consensus on the issues slated for discussion during the visit.

4. The visiting Thai Deputy Prime Minister identified several areas of cooperation between his country and Nigeria, including agro-processing, especially local production of rice, cassava, the processing of gemstones, capacity-building, training and manpower development. He also spoke about several Thai initiatives aimed at promoting closer cooperation with African countries, including a High-Level Dialogue under the auspices of the Thai-African Initiative scheduled to hold in Bangkok in February, 2014.

5. Other issues discussed include the implementation of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries, Development Cooperation, including technical assistance and exchange of volunteers, relations with ECOWAS, and the sharing of experiences on Thai Healthcare Delivery System, among others. In this regard, Nigeria, while noting the desire of the Thai authorities to establish an African Studies Programme in a Thai University, agreed to Thai's request for Technical Aid Corps (TAC) volunteers in the English language. They also agreed to double trade between the two countries from the current level of $1.5 billion USD to $3 billion USD in the next five (5) years.

6. Both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues, including support for each other's candidates for election into various international positions. Thailand pledged support for Nigeria's candidacy for election into the non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council on the basis of reciprocal support of Nigeria for Thailand's candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council, and the position of Auditor at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Thailand also agreed to support Nigeria's candidate for the position of President of the Governing Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

7. At the end of the consultations, Amb. Ashiru and Mr. Tovichakchaikul signed and exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultations between the two countries. This MoU will serve to deepen and expand the level of political consultations between both countries on matters of regional and international interest.

Ogbole Amedu Ode
Spokesperson
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tafawa Balewa House
Abuja.
19th August, 2013