Daily Trust (Abuja)

30 May 2012

Nigeria: Israel Celebrates 20-Year Ties With the Nation

The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria has celebrated 20 years of renewed diplomatic relations with Nigeria. Diplomatic relations between the countries were severed in 1973 when the now defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU) ordered African countries to cut ties with Israel over its 1973 War with Egypt and other human rights abuses.

Speaking at an event to mark the country's restored ties with Nigeria in Abuja, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Moshe Ram, said the restored diplomatic ties is a significant move that symbolised Israel's return to the most important country to Israel in Africa.

Ram recalled that in the 1960s and early 70s before break in diplomatic ties, Israel played a significant role in the development and modernization of Nigeria as hundreds of Israeli experts helped in Nigeria's agriculture sector, educational system and medical institutions.

This year's event coincided with commemoration of the Jewish festival of Shavout (Pentecost).

In her response, Minister of State (I) for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Adaku Onwuliri, affirmed that Nigeria has benefitted from her relationship with Israel.

She commended the Israeli embassy for facilitating the granting of travels documents to Nigerians who go for business, pleasure and pilgrimage.

Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, who was present at the event, told journalists that Nigeria/Israeli relations have matured and harboured a bright future for both countries.

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