President Goodluck Jonathan has sought the assistance and cooperation of the State of Israel in the ongoing war against terrorism and insurgency, which is a common threat for both countries.
Jonathan made this call yesterday in Jerusalem, Israel during his meeting with the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, before the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) by the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri.
According to him, Nigeria would welcome enhanced cooperation and assistance from Israel on its ongoing efforts to end terrorist attacks and incursions in parts of the country.
He said: “Combating the menace of terrorism is a challenge that we must address in partnership with all peace loving countries and peoples of the world.
“I seek the cooperation of your country to confront the security threat from terrorist groups that my country is now facing. There is no doubt that Israel has had decades of experience in combating terrorism. Nigeria can benefit tremendously from your experience in this area.”
Speaking further, Jonathan acknowledged the growing economic relations between the two countries, and called for greater collaboration in other sectors.
He added: “My administration will also welcome the greater deployment of Israel’s renowned expertise in furtherance of Nigeria’s agenda for national transformation in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, electric power supply and the management of water resources.
“I also assure you that my administration will continue to encourage the expansion of trade, economic and cultural relations between Nigeria and Israel, and the BASA will undoubtedly boost such an effort.” Responding, Peres said he was delighted and privileged to have had the opportunity of hosting “the first Nigerian President to visit the state of Israel”.
He said: “You are a most distinguished pilgrim. In recent years, our relations have extended to many other spheres, and are steadily growing. The relations between Nigeria and Israel are close and long-standing. They are based upon friendship and the shared values of freedom, democracy and faith. Today, we also face common menaces.
“Nigeria and Israel have been steadfast partners in combating terror groups such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Boko Haram which threaten the regional stability in Western Africa and in the Middle East.
“You have combated the menace of Boko Haram with a steady hand and great courage. The State of Israel too has been fighting terrorism since its establishment. Terrorists all over the world are united in their attempt to destroy hope and unity. Those of us who seek peace and freedom must be united in order to defend our common front.
“Mr. President, you have been a brave leader of a brave country. Marching ahead towards the strengthening of democracy and development. And at the same time, trying to unite your people. The world is watching as Nigeria grows and prospers, achieving its economic and development goals. Your country, Mr. President, is not only a great hope. It is an example and an inspiration for countries around it. A true testament to the strength of the human potential.”
According to the Israeli President: “Israel and Nigeria share the belief that the progress we make in our own countries and societies can benefit our neighbours and regions at large. I know that one of highlights of your trip was the signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Israel and Nigeria. You are a leader who opens the skies for the horizons of tomorrow. Hand in hand, let us soar along the runway of progress and freedom towards a brighter future,” President Peres told President Jonathan.
Meanwhile, Jonathan, who met earlier in the day with with the Minister of Defence, Mr. Moshe Ya’alon, has completed his pilgrimage and will return to the country today after a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas.
He also met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu who told him that a nuclear armed Iran was a threat to Africa.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Netanyahu said stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons was important to Nigeria, Africa and the world. Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons technology. The Jewish state sees a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to its existence, citing Iranian references to Israel’s destruction and its support of militant groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
President Jonathan later visited the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem where laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and lit a flame in honour of the dead.
Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)