Nigeria, Ethiopia sign visa waiver agreement, MoU on defence cooperation

Nigeria and Ethiopia have signed a visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in the field of Defence.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed witnessed the signing of the agreement Tuesday in Addis Ababa by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Gedu Andargachew, respectively, during the State Visit of the Nigerian leader.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said at the meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister, President Buhari had discussed how to explore new areas of collaboration to further enhance and expand Nigeria-Ethiopia bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two countries.

“The visa waiver agreement is expected to ease travels by officials and contribute to further strengthening of bilateral relations.

“The Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation is important to both countries in the coordination of efforts in the fight against terrorism and securing peace and stability in their respective sub-regions, as well as on the continent of Africa.

“The MoU will also enhance bilateral military cooperation in the areas of training and education, technical assistance, exchange of visits and defence technology transfer.

“It also entails cooperation in peace support operation issues within the framework of the respective laws of the Parties and on a reciprocal basis.

Both sides agreed to swiftly conclude negotiations on the revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the MoU on cultural cooperations.

“The consummation of these two agreements will provide veritable platforms for deepening existing air transport services, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries,” Shehu said in the statement.

President Buhari expressed gratitude to the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia for the warm and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit.

He further extended an invitation to Prime Minister Ahmed to pay a reciprocal State Visit to Nigeria on mutually convenient dates.

Recalled that Nigeria and Ethiopia had in 2006 under Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration signed trade, culture and tourism cooperation agreements and mutual recognition agreement on standardization to further strengthen their cooperation in those fields.

Despite having over 50 years of strong bilateral relations, trade between Nigeria and Ethiopia is said to be weak, necessitating the need to further strengthen trade between both countries.

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