- Title: JERUSALEM: Nigeria signs air service agreement with Israel.
- Date: 29th October 2013
- Summary: JERUSALEM (OCTOBER 28, 2013) (REUTERS) WREATH WITH SIGN READING IN ENGLISH AND HEBREW 'NIGERIA' JONATHAN LIGHTING A TORCH AT A MEMORIAL CEREMONY AT ISRAEL'S HOLOCAUST MUSEUM OF YAD VASHEM MORE OF TORCH JONATHAN LAYING WREATH AT THE MEMORIAL MORE OF JONATHAN AT YAD VASHEM
- Embargoed: 13th November 2013 12:00
- Location: Jerusalem
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Business,International Relations,Politics,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVA2ZRKDHO4P8GDBX2R2ODQJIFUR
- Story Text: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met on Monday (October 28) with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.
Jonathan started his visit by meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres at his residence in Jerusalem.
Peres during the meeting welcomed the security cooperation with Nigeria and the newly signed Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).
"I know that one of the highlights of your trip was the signing of the bilateral air service agreement between Israel and Nigeria you are a leader who opens the skies for the horizons of tomorrow," said Peres.
The agreement, signed by foreign ministers from both countries will pave the way for direct flights to and from the two countries. Currently Nigerians have to stop over in different countries before going into Israel.
The agreement has been twice delayed - in 2002 and 2012 following questions over safety.
Air crashes are relatively frequent in Africa's second biggest economy, where a sophisticated financial sector and large professional class depend on flights, although safety improved a lot over the years.
The agreement is also expected to boost business ties between the two countries, Jonathan said.
"Over 50,000 Israeli companies are presently doing business in Nigeria in the areas of agriculture, in the areas of construction, infrastructure, water resources management, education sector, health, security, and intelligence. All this no doubt are auger well for the future of the ties that bind our two countries together," said Jonathan.
Jonathan held separate meetings with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the evening, where he emphasised the importance of the BASA for Nigerian Christians who travelled in their thousands every year for pilgrimage in the Holy Land as well as those seeking business opportunities in the region.
"But let me commend you and appreciate you in one achievement we got this evening, and this late afternoon, the signing of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement that has been on the drawing board and a number of Nigerians come to Israel annually in fact last year about 30,000 came on pilgrimage and outside that the number of regular visitors, which are also significant because Nigeria is one country that people are very very mobile," said Jonathan during his meeting with Netanyahu.
Jonathan is scheduled to join several other Nigerian Christians in the Holy Land for a pilgrimage.
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