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Israel will deepen bilateral relations with Nigeria – Envoy

 The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, said his country would continue to deepen bilateral relations with Nigeria to foster mutually beneficial economic growth between the two countries.
Freeman, who is also the Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The envoy said economic ties between Israel and Nigeria were officially established in 1960 after Nigeria’s independence was created.
The relationship was smooth until 1973 when at the urging of the Organization of African Unity, Nigeria broke formal ties with Israel in protest against Israel’s occupation of Sinai territory once belonging to Egypt.
According to him, the relationship between both countries would be improved in the areas of economy, agriculture, cyber, health, education, and homeland security among others.

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“Israel has a very strong relationship with Africa and with Nigeria in particular, we started looking towards strengthening and building those relationships in many areas we have identified to work with Nigeria.
“Whether that is in the economy, whether that is in agriculture, cyber, healthcare, education, security, there are so many different areas that we are sure we are going to be working together.
“To partner together to make a better future for both Israelis and for Nigerians, as well as Africans generally.
“Certainly, there is a conversation that we have started and after the ongoing war, we will continue that conversation as well,
“Nigeria is our friend, Nigeria is our partner and we are looking forward to working closely and more strongly with Nigeria on many different areas,” the envoy said.
Freeman said the deepening relationship between the two countries would further boost cyber-security, digital economy, and economy and promote adequate investments between them.
He also said that measures have been put in place to resume operations and consular services, as a means to restore normalcy in Israel amidst the lingering Israel-Hamas war.
“Nigeria is our friend, Nigeria is our partner and I see 2024 being a very positive year for Israel-Nigeria relations; we are always evaluating what we can do and where we can do it”.
“We are going to see airlines returning in the coming days and the coming weeks: We are opening our Consular services very soon as well to start issuing visas.
“We are looking forward to welcoming people back to Israel while there is this war ongoing.
“I was in Israel two weeks ago and parts of Israeli life are beginning to get back to normal.
“Israelis are very resilient, we have lived through this trauma, through this tragedy for several years.
“We are still going to fight to bring back our hostages.
“Therefore, we are going to see more tourists coming back, more and more tourists coming to Israel, we are looking forward to welcoming Nigeria Christian and Muslim pilgrims who want to come to Israel,” Freeman said.
The ambassador said the embassy had put measures in place to commemorate the International Holocaust Day on Jan. 27. (NAN)
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