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Tinubu directs resolution of disagreements with UAE on Emirates Airline, visa issuance

President Bola Tinubu has directed that issues affecting Nigeria’s relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) be resolved immediately. 

The issues revolve around Emirates Airline and issuance of visas to Nigerians.

The president also said he is ready to “personally’’ intervene to resolve areas of conflict.

Tinubu said this while receiving Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, UAE ambassador to Nigeria, on Thursday at the State House.

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A statement signed by Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, quoted Tinubu as saying that: “We are a family with the UAE, we only live in separate rooms, but we are in the same house”.

“We should look at the issues as a family problem, and resolve it amicably.

“As you know in every family, there are peculiarities. You can have an erring son, or daughter, but we must work together.

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“We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues.”

In his response Al-Shamsi said the disagreements will be resolved amicably.

“Since I arrived in the country, I have been working on 24 agreements. We are getting somewhere,” Al-Shamsi said.

“These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved.

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“I am grateful to be here in Nigeria. I am also very grateful to meet His Excellency, President Tinubu, who is a great leader in Nigeria and Africa.

“Please accept me as a Nigerian and consider me a member of your team.”

DIPLOMATIC ROW

Nigeria and the UAE have been locked in a diplomatic row for some time now.

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In August of 2022, Emirates Airline announced the suspension of its flight operations to Nigeria, citing the inability to repatriate its earnings in foreign exchange, amounting to $85 million.

In October of 2022, UAE immigration authorities announced a ban on visa applications from Nigerians.

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The UAE government said the suspension would subsist pending the resolution of issues between it and the Nigerian government.

“Kindly advise your clients to resubmit applications when the issue is resolved between both governments”, the notice had read. 

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The UAE had also stopped issuing tourist visas to persons under the age of 40, a policy that affected Nigerians as well.

On Thursday, President Tinubu also held meetings with Awall Wagris Mohammed, Ethiopian ambassador; and Miriam Morales Palmero, the Cuban ambassador.

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Tinubu assured the Ethiopian envoy that Nigeria will continue to strengthen its ties with African countries in the areas of trade, security, and economic growth.

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