Abuja - The outgoing Serbian Ambassador to Nigeria, Rondic Rifat, has called for a stronger economic ties between Serbia and Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa.
Rifat made the call when he was granted audience by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 1, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, in Abuja on Friday.
He said in the last three years businesses from both countries had tried to expand economic ties in the fields of agriculture, Information Communication Technology and health.
The ambassador thanked Nigeria for reopening its embassy in Belgrade, and applauded the strong bilateral relations between both countries.
He described the reopening of the embassy in 2012 as a highpoint and a major achievement during his four-year stint in Nigeria.
Rifat recounted that in the last four years both countries had deepened relations in the area of defence and education cooperation, which had facilitated study programmes for 20 Nigerian students in Serbia.
"Last year my president proposed a visit to Nigeria but this was postponed but we hope that this would happen in the future maybe after the elections (Feb. 2015) in Nigeria."
Rifat said the Serbian government wished Nigeria free and peaceful elections in 2015.
He assured that he would continue to work for the expansion of cordial relations between Nigeria and Serbia in his future assignments.
"Nigeria is now part of my life and I feel very much like a Nigerian and I am ready to support our relations to the greatest heights," he said.
The ambassador said construction of the new Serbian embassy in Abuja had reached an advanced stage and the project would be concluded before the end of year.
Onwuliri thanked the outgoing ambassador for working very hard during his four-year stay in the country to improve ties between both countries.
The minister agreed with the ambassador that the reopening of Nigeria’s embassy in Belgrade was a boost to improved relations between both countries.
She commended President Goodluck Jonathan for approving the settlement of debts owed by the Nigeria mission in Belgrade which facilitated the recovery of the embassy building and reopening of the diplomatic post.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that annual volume of trade between both countries is about 20 million dollars about N3.4 billion.
Serbia exports machinery such as tractors and cultivators to Nigeria, while imports from Nigeria include groundnut, corn, wheat, palm oil, coconut and seedlings of various crops.