JAKARTA, 8 May 2015 – Nigeria expressed its interest to forge closer cooperation and strengthen economic ties with ASEAN. The message was conveyed to Secretary- General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh by Nigeria’s new Ambassador to ASEAN, H.E. Muhammad Lawal Sulaiman. Ambassador Sulaiman presented his Letter of Credence to Secretary-General Minh at his office today.

Ambassador Sulaiman highlighted the economic potential of Nigeria which is currently Africa’s largest economy with a population of 170 million. He encouraged cooperation between ASEAN and the Economic Community of West African States, a 15-member regional grouping established to promote economic integration among its member countries. Ambassador Sulaiman appreciated ASEAN’s effort in forging regional peace, stability, and prosperity.

Secretary-General Minh congratulated Ambassador Sulaiman on his appointment and assumption of office as Ambassador of Nigeria to ASEAN. He informed Ambassador Sulaiman that ASEAN is in an important transitional period towards the formal establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year. He stated that ASEAN is now working on its post-2015 vision of which a key element is the expansion of ASEAN’s external relations to reach out to new and emerging partners including those in Africa. He encouraged Ambassador Sulaiman to explore practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest to tap economic and human resource potentials and opportunities between ASEAN and Nigeria.

Secretary-General Minh and Ambassador Sulaiman also shared the view that ASEAN and Nigeria could make full use of the wider international fora such as the UN, to pursue cooperation especially in the fight against terrorism and combatting drug trafficking.

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