By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders has been signed between Nigeria and Ethiopia, the presidency has disclosed.
A statement signed on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated that the agreement between both African nations was signed during a visit to the country by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Buhari was in Ethiopia for an African Union (AU) meeting and he used the occasion to also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of defence with his host country, which has Mr Abiy Ahmed as its Prime Minister.
At the signing ceremony of the agreement on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, both leaders witnessed their Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria and Mr Gedu Andargachew of Ethiopia put pen to paper.
Earlier, while meeting with the 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.
According to the presidency, the MoU 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.
It is expected to also enhance bilateral military cooperation in the areas of training and education, technical assistance, exchange of visits and defence technology transfer.
Mr Shehu said tt 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 cooperation.
It is believed that the consummation of these two agreements will provide veritable platforms for deepening existing air transport services, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Meanwhile, President Buhari, who expressed gratitude for the warm and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit, asked the Ethiopian leader to pay a reciprocal state visit to Nigeria on mutually convenient dates.
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