(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman today (Wednesday, 9 September 2009) signed the first agreement between Israel and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria. ECOWAS is comprised of fifteen West African states. Three member states - Guinea, Mali and Niger - do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Jean de Dieu Somda, Commission Vice President, signed the agreement on behalf of ECOWAS.
The agreement determines cooperation in the fields of education, agriculture, culture, economic relations and other fields to be agreed upon by the two sides.
In addition, EM Liberman and VP Somda signed an agreement between ECOWAS and MASHAV - Israel Center for International Cooperation, which states that the two sides will work together to initiate projects, with emphasis on reducing poverty and preservation and protection of the environment.
The sides also agreed to use national and regional research institutions to assist relief work in the fields of agriculture, water resources, rural development and desertification. Mechanisms of cooperation were also determined in the agreement.
At the signing ceremony, FM Liberman stated that the aim of the agreement is to transform good intentions into reality, and that this is only the first agreement in a series of agreements which will continue the fertile cooperation between the African states and Israel.