Israel says Azerbaijan to open Tel Aviv embassy
Israel on Friday welcomed a decision by Azerbaijan to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, three decades after the two countries established diplomatic relations.
“The Azerbaijani parliament made the historic decision to open an embassy of Azerbaijan in Tel Aviv, Israel,” the office of outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, without providing details on when the move would take place.
“I welcome the decision,” the premier said in a statement.
Israel has an embassy in Baku, with Azerbaijan opening a trade office in Tel Aviv in July 2021, and a tourism office in March 2022.
Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Azerbaijan and met with President Ilham Aliyev.
The Azerbaijani decision to open an embassy was “the result of the Israeli government’s efforts to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Muslim world,” Lapid said.
It comes after close Azerbaijani ally Turkey named an ambassador to Israel earlier this month for the first time in four years, in the latest step towards normalizing relations still clouded by Israel’s deadly 2010 storming of a Turkish aid ship headed for Gaza.
Israel recognized Azerbaijan shortly after it declared its independence amid the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Azerbaijan shares a border of around 700 kilometers (430 miles) with Israel’s arch foe Iran and has become a major buyer of Israeli weapons systems.
According to a 2021 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), Israel has been the top supplier of arms to Azerbaijan in recent years, with sales of more than $740 million topping those of Russia.
The Israeli arms sales drew diplomatic fire from Armenia during its 2020 war with Azerbaijan in which it suffered significant territorial losses.