Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (left) led a business delegation to Nigeria for talks on trade and investment on Tuesday and is due to sign a cooperation pact with the Economic Community of West African States on Wednesday.
AFP - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held trade and investment talks with Nigerian vice president Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday as part of efforts to improve ties between the two countries.
"We are here to preserve our relations. I brought with me a big business delegation, people who want to invest," Lieberman told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Jonathan in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
He said his delegation included representatives of top Israeli companies in the fields of water management, agriculture, medicine and infrastructure.
"We hope to increase our business relations," he stated.
Jonathan's office said that during the talks, Nigeria said that it would encourage trade between businessmen of both countries, especially in the areas of agriculture and technology.
"Government would be encouraged to see Israeli businessmen coming to buy and export Nigerian products to Israel. This is one of the ways that we can help create capacity and wealth for Nigerians," the statement quoted Jonathan as saying.
Lieberman said that aside from trade, Israel is ready to cooperate with Nigeria in other areas such as agriculture, technology and medicine.
Lieberman later met with his Nigerian counterpart, Ojo Maduekwe, during which they signed a trade and economic cooperation agreement, officials said.
Nigeria and Israel restored diplomatic relations in May 1992, broken 19 years earlier by the west African nation in compliance with an Organisation of African Unity (now African Union) resolution on the Middle East crisis.
Lieberman is scheduled to sign on Wednesday a cooperation agreement with the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has its headquarters in Abuja.
Lieberman is on an eight-day tour of Africa which has already seen him visit Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana.
He is due in Uganda later this week, while a stop in Angola was cancelled due to scheduling problems.
Date created : 2009-09-09