Azerbaijan appoints first ambassador to Israel amid tensions with Iran
Israel is a strong supporter of Azerbaijan, providing military equipment and weapons to Azerbaijan’s armed forces
By News Desk - January 11 2023

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on 13 December, 2016. (Photo credit: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service)

On 11 January, Azerbaijan appointed its first ambassador to Israel, where bilateral relations have continued to strive for 30 years, in light of growing border tensions with its neighbor Iran, according to Reuters.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree appointing Muktar Mammadov, a former foreign and education ministry official, as the country’s first ambassador to Israel.

Israel has an embassy in Baku since 1990 and established cordial bilateral ties with Azerbaijan. Israel also provided diplomatic support to Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Around 40% of Israel’s oil imports come from Azerbaijan, and both Aliyev and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have praised the positive relations between their two nations.

In an interview with Pravda, Arzu Naghiyev, a member of the Azerbaijan-Israel parliamentary friendship group, announced Baku’s intentions to finally open an embassy after the parliament passed a law in November to greenlight the diplomatic project.

Naghiyev claimed that neighboring states would no longer influence Baku’s foreign policy.

“If Iran opens a consulate in Kapan and says ‘Armenia is our partner,’ there is no reason for us to shy away from any country. It never was the case and never will be,” Naghiyev added in a clear rebuke to Iran.

On 22 October, Tehran opened its first consulate in Kapan, a contested province between Armenia and Azerbaijan, becoming the first country to establish diplomatic representation in this territory.

Meanwhile, Azeri Ambassador to the US Khazar Ibrahim informed Israeli media on 16 December that Baku would not allow Tel Aviv to attack Iran from its soil.

Ibrahim remarked that Israel’s government, led by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, would not impact Azeri relations with regional nations and its decision-making on UN-related votes.

Azerbaijan disclosed this information following months of speculation that Israel would use Baku to launch coordinated attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities.

However, Ibrahim stressed that despite its recent decision to prevent Israel from using its soil to attack Iran, Baku remains positive on maintaining relations with Tel Aviv and will support Israel during UN forums on various issues.

Last year, Israel was accused of developing a military presence and covert partnership with Azerbaijan, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

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