Nigeria to enhance cultural ties with ASEAN countries – Onyeama


Foreign Minister Onyeama
Nigeria is to promote cultural relations with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to improve people-to-people interactions among parties.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama made this known at the opening of the ASEAN Film Festival to mark the 51st anniversary of the establishment of the regional group.
The film festival was organised by the ASEAN Committee in Abuja (ACA) on Wednesday.
Onyeama said that the level of economic ties between Nigeria and ASEAN member countries had improved but the country had “to do a bit more to attract more people from ASEAN countries”.
“In the nearest future, we want to increase our cooperation moving beyond trade and economic relations to cultural ties; our cultural industries need to engage more with them.
“We are having more joint commissions and what we can do is expand the joint commission we have and add representatives of culture industries to take part and that will probably be the building block of our cultural engagements.”
The minister also said that the film festival was a way of showcasing the cultures of member countries.
“The film we saw was about perseverance and believe so that is another lesson for us here in Nigeria. We have to persevere even when the odds seem to be against us, and keep believing and good things will happen.”
Also speaking, Philippines Ambassador to Nigeria,  Shirley Ho-Vicario said that her government was willing to share its expertise with Nigeria to enhance cultural relations.
The envoy said that the both countries had “a very lively bilateral relationship” mainly technical and economic cooperation.
She added that the upcoming joint commission meeting in Manila on Aug. 15 would explore more areas of cooperation between both countries.
“We are 10 members of ASEAN and our relations are very strong economically, politically and socially.
“We want to bring that to the Nigerian community and our friendship should foster more people-to-people relations.”
In her address, Malaysian High Commissioner designate to Nigeria, Gloria Tiwet said that the film festival would promote awareness about the regional group to the Nigerian audience.
Gloria who is yet to present her Letters of Credence said: “for this year’s celebration of the ASEAN Day, ACA proudly presents to all of you, the third ASEAN Film Festival in Nigeria.
“We sincerely hope that these highly acclaimed films from five ASEAN member states will enable the audience to see the diversity and way of life of the ASEAN community and also cultivate a better understanding of our culture.”
Tiwet also expressed confidence that the film festival would further strengthen “bridges of friendship and understanding peoples of ASEAN and peoples of Nigeria”.
ASEAN was established on Aug. 8, 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a platform to reduce regional hostilities.
Other southeast Asian countries that joined the group at separate dates are Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. (NAN)

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