Nigeria: After 61 Years, Israeli PM Plans to Visit Nigeria

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24 May 2019

The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Shimon Ben-Shosan, said Thursday that his Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and the President, Mr. Reuvin Rivlin, could visit Nigeria soon, 61 years after an Israeli PM came to Nigeria in 1958.

Ben-Shosan also said Israel would want President Muhammed Buhari to pay a visit to the country, saying that such visits from the topmost political leaders on both sides would be "historic."

He spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he presented his Letters of Credence to the Nigerian President.

Buhari had already invited Netanyahu to attend Nigeria's Democracy Day celebrations coming up on June 12.

The ambassador did not say whether Netanyahu would honour the invitation, but he spoke of the many years of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel.

He said, "Next year will be 60 years of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Israel, and the last time a Prime Minister of Israel visited Nigeria was in 1958.

"My dream is to bring my Prime Minister and President to visit Nigeria and for President Buhari to visit Israel.

"That will be historic for us."

A State House statement released by Buhari's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari, while receiving the envoy, acknowledged the diversity of Nigeria as being the "strength for the development of the country."

The statement added, "The President said Nigeria and Israel have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations, highlighting that many Nigerian Christians look forward to performing pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Israel."

He congratulated Ben-Shosan on his appointment, urging him to go ground the country and appreciate its beauty.

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