Thursday, 24 April 2014
Statements by PM Netanyahu and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan -
It's my pleasure to welcome here, in Israel, in the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, the President of Nigeria, Mr.Goodluck Jonathan.
I think that this is a meeting long overdue and much welcomed. We’ve had excellent relations between our countries. They’re improving even as we speak, over the past few years.
But this is the visit of a president of Nigeria in Israel and I’m sure it won't be the last. It's something that'll give us an opportunity to strengthen our ties even more. I look forward to doing that in every field: in trade, in investment, in tourism, there are thousands of pilgrims from Nigeria that visit Israel, we'd welcome many more and we’d like Israelis to go to Nigeria. Many are going, as business people who are increasingly interested in the investment possibilities of Nigeria.
we're a partnership of peoples and a partnership of interests. The key interest is fighting terrorism. I know, Mr. President, that you've been plagued by this scourge. I want you to know that Israel has been on the frontlines of fighting terrorism for many years. We’ve done so successfully and we stand ready to help all responsible nations to fight terrorism. you're a responsible leader of a friendly nation, a responsible nation. We stand with you in your great effort to stamp out terrorism. I can say that the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world is Iran. This same Iran is now on a quest to preserve its program to achieve nuclear weapons. I just heard Iranian officials that the talks, the most recent round of talks were useful and constructive. Well, I’m sure for Iran it’s useful and constructive, because they just win time in order to continue their enrichment program to create fissile material for nuclear weapons.
I think the talks will be useful and constructive when the pressure on Iran will get them to cease and desist their nuclear program, to stop enrichment, to stop their heavy water plutonium reactor, both of these are used only for nuclear weapons. They’re not needed for civilian nuclear energy. This is our goal, to see a peaceful settlement of Iran without nuclear weapons. Iran must be without nuclear weapons. This is something that we're committed to and we stand by this goal. This is important for us Mr. President. I believe it’s important for Nigeria, I believe it’s important for Africa. The countries of the Middle East. For the world. Iran with nuclear weapons will threaten all of us. Will threaten the peace of the world. So we're committed to preventing that. Equally we're committed to strengthen our relations in every field possible. I'm very happy to welcome you and your delegation here in Jerusalem. I look forward to our conversations and I value our friendship. So welcome to Jerusalem, Mr. President.
Thank you, your Excellency. The Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, let me commend you and your government for what you’ve been doing for the world generally. Specifically, I came to your beautiful city for religious reasons. Since we came in myself and my delegation, have very warm welcome from our brothers and sisters from this great country of Israel. And we're quite pleased with that. Thank you very sincerely. And just like you said, Nigeria and the State of Israel have very warm relationship, even though at the top level there’s a limited number of visits, which I believe, by coming here this time will open that door for us also to soon receive you in Nigeria.
I was in 2007, December 2007, when I was a few months old as the Vice President of my country. But since I assumed office, I've not been able to come. I said that I must try and come to the State of Israel before the next round of elections coming up in 2015. So we're here primarily for that. We feel that let us use this unique opportunity to have this little bilateral talk to further strengthen the ties between Nigeria and the State of Israel.
you've been helpful to us in quite a number of ways, we appreciate your level of technology in terms of agriculture and construction, ICT, intelligence and other areas that you’ve been quite useful to us and we believe that we need to even strengthen more.
But let me commend you and I appreciate you in one achievement. We got it this late afternoon, signing of the bilateral air service agreement. that's been on the drawing board and a number of Nigerians come to Israel. In fact last year about 30,000 came on pilgrimage. Outside that, the number of regular visitors which are also significant, because Nigeria is one country that people are very very mobile. But all along, before we come to the State of Israel, we've to pass through thirdparty countries. I passed through Egypt, I passed through London. I passed through Turkey, other places. But at least with what's happened today, our next set of bilateral talks we’ll be able to fly directly to the State of Israel. And it'll also help because we've over 50 Israeli companies and with various responsibilities in Nigeria doing very well in civil engineering, in power sector. Of course, ICT, defenseand so on. And I believe these people also want to move directly from Tel Aviv to Abuja. Vice versa. So I've to commend you and we're all pleased. Nigerians are happy with you.
You mentioned the issues of security globally. It’s quite worrisome. Today it’s like the world is divided into some people who want society to live in crisis. Also those who want society to live peacefully. Nigeria belongs to these countries. I believe that the world must be a peaceful world. I'll continue to work with you, another wellmeaning nations and individuals. I’m sure that we'll live in a peaceful world.
We also believe that nuclear power now should be used for economic purposes of medicine and agriculture. Not for the purpose of destroying human life. And that's been our belief whenever we go for the programs and discussions on the nuclear that's been the position of Nigeria. So we're continuing to work with the rest of the world to see that we all live in peace.
For us and Israel, we've so many areas that we think we can work together, areas of power, areas of agriculture, water resources management, that you're experts. You’ve been able to conquer your environment and we appreciate that technology and we believe that you help us tremendously in also conquering our own environment, though slightly a different environment. But we've a number of Israelis working in Nigeria that quite conversant with our environment, quite aware what our investment opportunities. Before this time, mostly areas of our economy were controlled by the Federal Government. Issues of power were almost exclusively controlled by the Federal Government. Even the sub-national government states had no power to generate power for commercial purposes except for relative occasional project.
Not to our ports either airports or sea ports. Our road infrastructure, our railways, all this was monopolized by the Federal Government. But we're opening up all these areas for private-sector. We believe that government only creates the environment while the private-sector drives the economy. So the country has opened up for investment and we've very vibrant business men and women from the State of Israel. So I believe my coming today will further open opportunities for our business men and women to interact for the purpose of our own economic growth.
So once again, on behalf of my delegation, I thank you for this warm reception. I believe that this is the beginning of even stronger relations between Nigeria and the State of Israel. SOURCE: