Nigeria, Morocco cancels ECOWAS trip over presence of Israeli Prime Minister

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Nigeria Morocco
Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu in a group photo with  West African 
leaders at the 51st ECOWAS  Summit of Heads of State and 
Governments in Monrovia, Liberia. Former President 
Olusegun Obasanjo is second from left on the back.

Reports has it that Nigeria was intentionally absent from the 51st ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Liberia’s capital Monrovia.

The two day summit, which started on Saturday, was attended by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He will be the first non-African leader to ever address an ECOWAS Summit and also the first Israeli leader to visit West Africa since the 1960s.

An attempt by national news portal, Dailytrust, to get details of Nigeria’s decision not to attend the summit which was fruitless.

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When contacted, the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affair, Clement Aduku, he confirmed that there were no Nigerian government representatives at the summit but could not give the reason for the country’s absence.

However, a group picture from the summit revealed former President Olusegun Obasanjo was at the summit – but not as Nigeria’s representative.

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Meanwhile, Morroco’s King Mohammed VI, who was expected to push for his country to join the West African bloc as a full member, cancelled his trip due to Netanyahu’s presence.

King Mohammed VI cancelled his trip “to avoid any confusion”, said a statement from the country’s foreign affairs ministry.

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“King Mohammed VI wishes his first presence at an ECOWAS summit not to take place in a context of tension and controversy,” it said.

Morocco, like several African countries supported Palestine’s observer status at the United Nations in 2012.

Speaking at the summit yesterday, Netanyahu urged African leaders to partner with his country to build the continent’s capacity.

“I come here as an instruction of the simple truth, Israel is coming to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel. I believe in Africa, I believe in its potential, present and future,” he said.

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