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UK awaiting Tinubu’s ministers, so we can take collaborative steps forward – Envoy

Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, says the UK is awaiting the appointment of ministers by President Bola Tinubu before taking necessary steps toward strengthening collaboration.

Montgomery was speaking on Saturday during an interview with NAN in Abuja.

He said the UK government has identified six areas in which both countries could strengthen cooperation and explore “new areas to build upon for mutual benefits”.

The envoy said the UK is more interested in the bilateral ties with Nigeria as informed by Tinubu’s recent economic decisions.

“We have very long-standing ties being wired by history and we do have a very strong foundation on which to build and I am very optimistic about Nigeria’s direction in the coming years,” NAN quoted Montgomery as saying.

“We wish to build on our economic relations in particular and the first decisions by the new administration show that it is going to take big decisions on the economy which I think will give us the opportunity to grow our trade, investment, and economic relations.

“And I think there are a number of areas where the UK government can step up our diplomacy, our bilateral relations with Nigeria. But of course, we await the appointment of new ministers so that we can have the diplomatic dialogue necessary to lay the grounds for some of those.

“I will say that there are six areas we would like to explore. The first is, long-standing development cooperation.

“And I think what the UK always needs to do when a new administration comes into place is, we need to understand the priorities of that administration and how we can adapt and work in mutual partnership and with our development programmes.

“The second is the economic area. We already have a good economic dialogue but we would like to take the next step and develop a form of a more enhanced trade and partnership – something I am quite keen to discuss with the new minister of trade and industry.

“The third area is security and defence, which we would like to evolve and take forward.

“We already have a good relationship on home affairs, with your interior ministry and other agencies, and that is an area where we would like to continue our collaborations.

“Finally, we would like to have a more systematic dialogue on foreign policy.

“Nigeria has played a very valuable role in regional and continental issues and the UK would like to have a more systematic foreign policy dialogue with the government of Nigeria once the ministers and advisers are in place.”

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