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Presidency claims Nigeria not represented at Jerusalem US Embassy event

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

A Presidency source has denied media reports that Nigeria was present at the event where United States Embassy was officially relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, on Monday.

The source, who spoke to journalists, in Abuja, on Tuesday, on condition of anonymity, said the Federal Government had written to a foreign medium, Al Jazeera, demanding a retraction of its story that listed Nigeria as one of the countries represented at the event.

According to the source, based on the report, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, queried the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel to explain his presence at the event.

“Based on that report, the minister queried the ambassador to explain why he attended the event.

“The ambassador has since replied that he was not at the event.

“It was on the strength of the ambassador’s response that the Federal Government wrote to Al Jazeera to retract its story,” the source said,

The US had on Monday officially relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a deeply controversial move that angered Palestinians and drew widespread regional condemnation.

The ceremony took place amid road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests, as well as deadly demonstrations in Gaza calling for the refugees’ right to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from 70 years ago.

US President Donald Trump, who in December 2017 declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long sought by Israel, addressed the ceremony via a recorded video message.

“Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem, and we’re opening it many, many years ahead of schedule,” Trump has said.

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