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RIYADH: Nigeria’s relations with Saudi Arabia are progressing well, according to outgoing Ambassador Yahaya Lawal.

In an emotional message, Lawal told Arab News recently that he would always consider Saudi Arabia his “second home.”

“My assignment in Saudi Arabia has been extremely fruitful. I must say that it was very fulfilling as a career diplomat. I feel extremely humbled to have served in a very important strategic country like Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Our relations with Saudi Arabia is a very old one, cordial and friendly reflecting the centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties, and people-to-people contact. We made efforts to reinforce these links that have always existed between two brotherly people, and we have been able to raise our relations to a higher level,” said Lawal.

He added: “We have had high-level visits, hosted two presidents, current Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari. To host a president as an ambassador is a big achievement. I have also hosted ministers here as well as Saudi ministers in Nigeria for bilateral talks.”

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Nigeria in 2021 to hold discussions with his counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama, Lawal said.

The Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission meetings held in Abuja and Riyadh signified the importance attached to this bilateral cooperation, he said. Trade represents a key element of the relationship, one that Nigeria is keen to further enhance.

The joint commission provides a framework for political, economic, security, military, trade, investment, technology and labor cooperation, he said.

He highlighted the “excellent cooperation between the two countries, especially at the political level.”

“So from this perspective, you can see that we have done quite a lot, bringing the two countries much closer. We have a mechanism of working regularly, exchanging views and consulting on issues of mutual importance.

“I must say that during my tenure, we have been able to achieve some accomplishments that will be cherished for a long time and will further drive this relationship forward,” Lawal said.

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