Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Israel

Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Israel

As Israel's Foreign Ministry Eli Cohen points out, Azerbaijan is the first Shiite Islamic state to open an embassy in Israel. The two countries have maintained diplomatic relations since 1992, but so far only Israel has had an embassy in the other country (since 1993). Last year, Azerbaijan also decided to open an embassy in Israel and a representative office with the Palestinians in Ramallah.

At a press conference with his counterpart, Cohen hailed the opening of the embassy as a sign of further strengthening relations. Azerbaijan's strategic location makes them particularly important and gives them great potential. Bayramov and he agreed to "form a common front against Iran" and also to work together more intensively in the fields of economy, security, energy and innovation.

During the inauguration ceremony, Eli Cohen said he was witnessing a "historic day" and the beginning of a "new era"; next month he wants to visit the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. The Foreign Minister particularly emphasized that the Azerbaijani people "can be very proud that there has never been anti-Semitism towards the Jewish community" within the Shiite country.

Bayramov said during the visit that 114 Israeli companies are currently active in his country. Azerbaijan is pleased that Israeli companies are interested in participating in construction work in the areas "liberated" by Armenia. Azerbaijan wants peace, but Armenia threatens it with aggressive rhetoric.

The minister thanked Israel for its support in the "patriotic war" against Armenia in 2020. According to the Jerusalem Post, Bayramov did not say a word about Iran during the press conference. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Joav Gallant (both Likud) also met with Bayramov. On Thursday, the minister also met with President Yitzchak Herzog. In the meeting with Gallant, the Azerbaijani "noted the prominent role of defense relations," according to his ministry.

For Israel, Azerbaijan is not only important as an oil supplier. The Black Sea state also shares a border with Iran and has strained ties with Tehran itself. Among other things, they cling to the many millions of Azerbaijanis living in Iran. In the fall of 2022, both sides conducted military exercises in the border area.

Observers speculate whether Azerbaijan could provide Israel with air bases for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program, which would facilitate Israel's operation. Israel's air route to Iran is so long that Israeli planes would have to stop or refuel in the air. However, Azerbaijan's new ambassador to Israel told the Jerusalem Post in early March that his country would not allow its territory to be used against other countries.

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