PM to visit Nigeria, South Africa

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New Delhi, Oct 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Nigeria and South Africa from October 14 to 18, during which he would sign several agreements in Abuja and attend the Second IBSA Summit in Johannesburg.

The visit to Nigeria, at the invitiation of President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar' Adua, is the first bilateral visit by any Indian Prime Minister in 45 years, the last being by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962.

Dr Singh will be accompanied by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.

Mr Nalin Surie, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, told mediapersons that during the visit, the commanilities and complementarities between India and Nigeria would be further strengthened and a roadmap for the further development and diversification of bilateral relations laid out.

"The visit will strengthen our traditionally close partnership with Nigeria," he said.

Dr Singh will hold extensive discussions with Nigerian President Yar' Adua on issues of bilateral, regional and multilateral interest.

He will also address a joint session of the Nigerian Parliament.

The Economic Management Team of the President will meet him. A substantive joint statement would be issued at the end of the visit on October 16.

"Some agreements and MoUs are under preparation for signature," Mr Surie said, but did not give details.

Dr Singh would attend the second Summit of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Forum at Johannesburg on October 17.

A Joint Declaration would be issued at the end of the Summit, which seeks to enable the strengthening and deepening of South-South cooperation. Several MoUs will be signed in areas such as human resources, culture, social development, health and medicines, public administration, higher education and on customs and tax administration and cooperation, he said.

Mr Surie said the Prime Minister would hold bilateral meetings with South African President Thabo Mbeki and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da silva after the summit meeting.

Dr Singh had met Mr Lula and Mr Mbeki in Berlin last June on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit. President Lula had paid a state visit to India early this year.

"It is our expectation that the Second Summit will represent a fresh milestone in the progressive development of IBSA," Mr Surie said.

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