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Nigeria seeks to strengthen Pakistan trade ties

November 21, 2012

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. -Reuters File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan sought Wednesday to strengthen bilateral ties with Pakistan by “re-energising” the existing bi-national commission between the two countries, his spokesman said.

“The issue of re-energising (the) bi-national joint commission was raised with a view to promoting trade relations between the two countries,” Reuben Abati told reporters after Jonathan held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Jonathan arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to attend a summit of eight developing nations (D8) in the first visit to Pakistan by a Nigerian leader in 28 years.

The summit brings together Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, as well as Nigeria and Pakistan.

Jonathan sought to sign air services and banking deals with Pakistan, as well as explore collaborations in other areas, Abati said.

He is scheduled to hold similar talks with leaders of Malaysia, Turkey, Iran and Egypt on the sidelines of D8 on Thursday.

Nigeria's foreign minister Olugbenga Ashiru said his country has come to the summit to build cooperation with D8 members.

“Nigeria wants more improvement in terms of cooperation mostly in the areas of economy and power. We want to see a lot more done,” Ashiru told AFP.

He said that Nigeria is already in talks with Turkey but added that “we want to see more of this cooperation not only with Turkey but also with Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan”.

Nigeria, with a population of about 167 million, is Africa's largest oil producer but has a very poor and unreliable electricity supply.