Israel and Azerbaijan Tout Strategic Ties ahead of Embassy Opening in Tel Aviv

On Wednesday, there was a meeting between Eli Cohen, the Foreign Minister, and Jeyhun Bayramov, his counterpart from Azerbaijan, in Jerusalem.

This meeting came as Baku is gearing up to open its first ever embassy in the country. Considering that Azerbaijan sits on the border of Iran, it adds complexity to its alliance with Israel.

However, it is precisely due to this geography that Azerbaijan is a strong strategic partner for the Jewish nation.

The relationship

Since Israel supported Azerbaijan in the latter’s conflict with Armenia, the relationship between the two countries has flourished.

In the meeting, Cohen noted that Azerbaijan was Israel’s strategic partner in light of their cooperation in terms of regional security. He further announced that he would visit Baku in the coming month.

According to foreign reports, Baku likely permits Israel to launch reconnaissance flights via its bases over Iran and for sending intelligence operatives for the purpose of disrupting Iran’s nuclear program.

If Israel does eventually decide to launch strikes on plants and reactors in Iran, it would be more feasible for it to use the bases in Azerbaijan.

However, the most important contribution that Azerbaijan makes to the national security in Israel is oil. According to Bayramov, 30% of the oil in Israel comes from Baku.

The meeting

It was not surprising that in the Wednesday meeting, Cohen brought up the topic of cooperating for dealing with the Iranian threat. It is a topic that Azerbaijan prefers to downplay publicly.

As far as Bayramov is concerned, he talked about the war between Armenia and Baku, a topic that is uncomfortable for Israel.

Cohen said that where Iranian threats are concerned, the perception of the two countries remains the same.

He said that the threat is for both regions because it destabilizes all of the Middle East and also finances terrorism.

Bayramov said that Azerbaijan wants to ensure dialogue and peace in the Middle East and added that they were grateful for Israel’s support in its issues with Armenia.

He said that they appreciated the support they had received before as well as during the war that had taken place in 2020.

The events

During the 2020 conflict between Nagorno and Karabakh, Israel had increased the weapons shipments to Azerbaijan. The war had lasted for six weeks and Azerbaijan had been victorious over Armenia.

More than 6,000 soldiers lost their lives, but Baku was able to regain control of disputed territories. The aftermath of the war saw tensions with Iran rise, with the latter conducting military exercises on Azerbaijan’s border.

George Deek, Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, visited the site where a deadly missile attack had occurred during the Armenian conflict.

Deek said that it had been a turning point in the relationship between the two countries because his picture of laying roses at the site had been used in songs about the war.

He stated that Israel had showed its support for Azerbaijan in the latter’s time of need and this was a sign of real friendship.

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