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Why Nigeria abstained in UN Palestine vote

Israel-Nigeria bilateral relations reached a peak last week, with the latter abstaining in the UN Security Council vote on the Palestinian statehood resolution.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan during their meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX14RVU

The abstention of Nigeria on Dec. 31 at the UN Security Council vote over the Palestinian statehood resolution sheds a new light on Israeli-Nigerian ties. Indeed, the two countries foster a strong relationship, but in certain aspects this relationship is still relatively young and quite surprising.

Back in the 1960s, Israel adopted a proactive African policy, trying to win over the diplomatic support of countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Ivory Coast. Israel was also active in Nigeria, where it began programs in the fields of agriculture, health, technology and water systems. But at that time, Nigeria was not considered by Jerusalem as a key African player. The 1973 Yom Kippur War provoked a rupture in Israeli-African relations, including Nigeria. Ties with Nigeria were renewed only in 1992, on the eve of the 1993 Oslo Accord.

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