Netanyahu and Nigerian President Goodluck Jon
Netanyahu and Nigerian President Goodluck JonFlash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Monday in Jerusalem with the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

During the meeting, Netanyahu stressed the long-standing cooperation between Israel and Nigeria, noting that Jonathan’s visit was the first time a Nigerian president has visited Israel. Nigeria is a popular destination for Israeli tourists and businesspeople.

Hours before the meeting between the two leaders, Nigeria and Israel signed an agreement allowing direct air travel between both countries.

Perhaps the most important cooperation the two countries can have is in the field of terrorism, Netanyahu told Jonathan.

"We are a partnership of peoples and a partnership of interests, and the key interest is fighting terrorism,” Netanyahu said.

“I know, Mr. President, that you have been plagued by this scourge. I want you to know that Israel has been on the front lines of fighting terrorism for many years and we’ve done so successfully, and we stand ready to help all responsible nations fight terrorism.”

“I can say that the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world is Iran, and this same Iran is now on a quest to preserve its program to achieve nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu.

“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, but Iran must be without nuclear weapons. This is something that we are committed to and we stand by this goal. This is important for us Mr. President, but I believe it’s important for Nigeria, I believe it’s important for Africa, for the countries of the Middle East, and for the world. Iran with nuclear weapons will threaten all of us, and will threaten the peace of the world. So we are committed to preventing that."

Jonathan thanked Netanyahu for the welcomed, invited him to visit Nigeria, and welcomed the flight agreement, saying it would make it easier for both Israeli and Nigerians to visit the other country.