• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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State visit to Qatar: Tinubu not snubbed by Qatar — Presidency

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The Presidency has dismissed claims that President Bola Tinubu’s requests for a business meeting in Qatar was rejected due to absence of diplomatic relationships between both countries.

Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to the President on communications and strategy, in a statement, said that the “leaked memo was not a snub on President Tinubu by the Qatari government”.

He stated that Presidency is aware of a leaked diplomatic correspondence between the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja and Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar between 2 and 3 March, 2024.

“The leaked diplomatic paper by mischief makers about an investment forum is not in any way a snub on President Tinubu by the Qatari government,” Onanuga said.

The leaked memo had stated that “Qatar said that the rejection of President Tinubu’s request for visitation for the business and investment forum was due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between the country and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

However, Onanuga pointed out that Qatar had in a letter to the Nigerian government noted that its ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days President Tinubu desired to visit.

Qatar was quoted as saying in the note sent to Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday that “The Embassy has the honour to inform that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar apologises that it will not be able to hold a Business and Investment Forum as proposed by Nigerian side.

“There is no any agreement signed between the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Investment Promotion and Protection,” it said.

“The country further stressed that its Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian leader”.

But Onanuga in his response explained that ” the Note Verbale is about a private sector-led Business and Investment Forum to be held on the margins of President Bola Tinubu’s State Visit”.

He disclosed that the event cited by the newspaper report ” is being put together by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry, where business people from Nigeria will engage their counterparts from Qatar on commercial and investment opportunities available in both countries.

According to him” We note the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries and affirm that the State Visit by President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is on the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness, Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

“The State Visit is particularly aimed at strengthening the bilateral economic cooperation between Nigeria and Qatar.

“NACCIMA and Qatar Chambers of Commerce and Industry are collaborating to take advantage of President Tinubu’s visit to Doha to mobilise the business community from our two countries to explore opportunities in key economic sectors such as oil & gas, manufacturing, agro-business, construction, real estate, ICT, Renewable Energy, Solid Minerals and service sector, among others.”

He stressed further that President Tinubu is expected to proceed to Qatar on the State Visit as scheduled and during the visit, the Nigerian leader will engage in high-level bilateral discussions with Qatari leader on many important matters, covering the full range of diplomatic and economic issues.

“It is not correct for anyone to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the all-important State Visit and which President Tinubu is slated to attend as a guest.

“President Tinubu and His Highness Al-Thani are both committed to maintaining and building on the existing cordial and special relationship between Nigeria and the State of Qatar.”