By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, has expressed the willingness of Israeli government to deepen cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
Ben-Shoshan disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that Israel and Nigeria had maintained cordial diplomatic relationship for 60 years, adding that Israel would celebrate its 73rd anniversary in 2020.
According to him, everything has been going smoothly between the two countries in terms of bilateral cooperation.
“We are willing to cooperate in any field. As you already know, there have been fantastic cooperation during the previous administration in fighting Boko Haram terrorists.
“I can assure you that you are in good hands,” he said.
The ambassador commended the Nigerian army for its efforts toward addressing security challenges in the country.
He said that Israel had fought many wars over the years, adding that the country was desirous of achieving peace with all its neighbours.
According to him, the State of Israel has peace treaty with Egypt, Jordan and the people are hoping to have peace with all other nations and of course, first and foremost with Palestinians.
“For the rest of us the Israelites, we are praying three times a day, we are asking for peace. I think it is better if we can solve the problem without using force which is the best thing to be done to save lives,” he said.
Ben-Shoshan also expressed the desire of Israeli top government functionaries to visit Nigeria during the year, adding that no top official of government had paid official visit in a long time.
According to him, we do hope that we can break the ice this year with a high level delegation coming and of course we are willing to see President Muhammadu Buhari to visit the state of Israel.
Responding, Buratai, commended the long-standing relationship that had existed between Nigeria and the state of Israel over the years.
He also appreciated the ambassador for identifying with Nigerian army and appreciating its effort at providing security for the country.
According to him, Nigeria has enjoyed a very good relationship with Israel and will continue to work together.
“As you know, the issue of security requires not only internal resources or internal forces but we have had external supports in terms of training, provision of intelligence, which Israel has the strength.
“Israel is highly sophisticated in information technology as well as cyber warfare and cyber intelligence which I believe Israel will use to support our armed forces. We want to thank you and we appreciate you for being with us always,” he said.