The French and Chinese governments on Friday pledged to extend the level of military and economic cooperation they have with Nigeria.Osinbajo-China

The French and Chinese ambassadors to Nigeria, made the pledge during separate meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja.

The Chinese Envoy, Mr Gu Xiaojie, told correspondents after the meeting that he was very pleased to have a meeting with the vice-president.

He said they had very wonderful and fruitful discussions and exchanged views on bilateral relations.

“This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a strategic partnership between Nigeria and China.

“I conveyed the message of the government and people of China to work closely with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari

“Also we discussed the specific areas of cooperation between the two countries like infrastructure building, agriculture and some of the specific issues of cooperation of China and Nigeria.

The ambassador said the vice-president gave him the assurance that the new administration of Nigeria would want to continue the already good relationship between Nigeria and China.

He said both reached agreement on further development of the countries’ relationship.

He said they agreed that China and Nigeria being the biggest countries in each region had a lot to do together to make an impact on China-Nigeria relationship, China and Africa relations “and we can make an impact and influence in the region and the developing world.”

He said both countries also exchanged views on peace and stability of Nigeria and noted that the Chinese Government had been on the side of Nigeria.

“We support the Nigerian government and people to maintain peace and stability in the country so that the socio and economic development will be ensured,” he said.

The envoy offered his government’s sympathy and condolences to those who suffered during the past couple of weeks from terrorist attacks in some parts of Nigeria.

Similarly, the French Ambassador, Mr Gaver Denya, said he came mainly to discuss how to develop bilateral relations between France and Nigeria.

He said the relationship had developed positively in security and political cooperation and in the economic field.

According to him, this has been more pronounced since the visit of President Francois Hollande to Nigeria in January 2014 and the regional summit organised in Paris in May 2014 for countries involved in the fight against Boko Haram.

“France has encouraged Nigeria and the neighbouring countries to cooperate and collaborate with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram.

“We have also developed close relationship with the Nigerian armed forces providing them with intelligence and military cooperation.

“We are willing to continue closely this cooperation and to extend it, especially the military cooperation, because we consider it absolutely fundamental in defeating Boko Haram threat for Nigeria and the whole region.

In the field of economy, the envoy said Nigeria was the first trading partner for France in Africa.

“We have quite important French presence in Nigeria and are trying to encourage more French companies to come into Nigeria to engage in long economic partnership with Nigerian private sector.

“We buy Nigeria’s crude oil and the trade balance is in favour of Nigeria,” he added.

The ambassador said the French Development Agency in Nigeria was willing to finance infrastructure projects in Nigeria, while his country had more plans to organise many visits of French business organisations to Nigeria.

“We have bright prospects to forge ahead in our relationships and we have to build on that and multiply the bilateral visits in the coming period,’’ he said.

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