DOMESTIC PRIORITIES 'LL BE KEY FACTOR IN FOREIGN POLICY -JONATHAN

By NBF News
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President Goodluck Jonathan has said due consideration of the nation's domestic priorities would be a key factor in the review of the nation's foreign policy.

He observed that the challenges before the nation called for the adjustment and adaptation of its foreign policy in line with global realities and challenges.

President Jonathan stated this yesterday at the opening session of the seminar organised by the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held at the auditorium of the ministry in Abuja.

The president said the country had played a leading and facilitating role in the emancipation of the African continent from colonialism, racial discrimination and reintegration in times past, adding that there was need to now focus on new priorities and challenges such as job creation, economic progress, poverty eradication and security which he said were top most of the priorities on the nation's national agenda.

'In the era of globalization, at a time of grave challenges to national and international security, such as we face from terrorism and transnational criminal networks; at a time of massive poverty and youth restiveness in our country, we have no choice but to adjust and adapt the way we conduct foreign policy, as we respond to the forces of globalisation, our diplomacy must be put at the service of our domestic priorities,'' the president said.

President Jonathan noted that since foreign policy was the externalisation of domestic priorities and the aspirations of citizens, Nigeria's diplomacy must therefore articulate and vigorously market the country, as a conducive environment in which to do business, stating that the dignity of humanity must be defended both at home and abroad.

He admonished that while we continue to pursue a robust multilateral diplomacy, it should not be at the expense of our bilateral relationships and thus called for the deepening of partnership with other countries, anchored on mutual respect and responsiveness.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, said Nigeria's foreign policy would be further repositioned to support the domestic programmes and priorities of government to improve the living standards of Nigerians, including the creation of jobs and reduction of poverty.

He disclosed that one of the ways to advance government's economic agenda was to forge a strong partnership with the organised private sector to locate and explore business and market opportunities abroad to which end he said the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Investment had held an interactive session to jump start the process.

The minister noted that heads of missions had been directed to drive the new focus of the foreign process by spending more time and energy in attracting investment and businesses to Nigeria.

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, observed that the changing circumstances in Africa called for new directions and strategic priorities in the nation's foreign policy that would address poverty and economic deprivations.

He said Nigeria's future foreign policy should aim at consolidating good governance at home and on the African continent as well as strengthen the capacity of continental organisations such as the African Union to respond more effectively to international situations.