Azerbaijan becomes first Muslim Shiite country to open embassy in Israel

Azerbaijan plans to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel after parliament approves the decision on Nov. 18, which officials say will help improve ongoing economic ties and cooperation between the two countries. Says.

The move makes Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey, the first country to have a Shia majority.

Both Azerbaijan and Israel share common concerns about Iran, which is steadily advancing its nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the move. statement On Friday, he said Azerbaijan was “an important partner of Israel and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Islamic world.”

The decision to open the embassy reflects the depth of relations between the two countries and “is the result of the Israeli government’s efforts to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Islamic world,” the statement said. “I would like to thank President Ilham Aliyev and congratulate the people of Azerbaijan for being represented in the State of Israel for the first time.”

Azerbaijan has become a large buyer of Israeli oil and weapons systems. data According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), Israel supplied about 27% of the major arms imported into Azerbaijan between 2011 and 2020.

From 2016 to 2020, Israel accounted for 69% of Azerbaijan’s major arms imports, according to data.

“Further strengthen partnership”

Separately statement On Twitter on November 19, Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said the decision to set up an Azerbaijani embassy in Israel would promote trade ties and “further strengthen our partnership”, while at the same time creating a stronger relationship between the two countries. It will contribute to the development of economic relations and cooperation, he said.

Israel has had an embassy in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, since 1992, and the two countries have enjoyed close ties for 30 years.

Azerbaijan will also open a representative office in the state of Palestine after the Azerbaijan parliament also approved the move on Friday, Wafa news agency said. report.

Nonetheless, the government’s decision to open an embassy in Tel Aviv came at a time when the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas’ ties with the now high-ranking Palestinian authorities are increasingly breaking down. provoked criticism from

“Unfortunately, Azerbaijan’s decision was made at a time when the Israeli right wing was in power in Israel, so this is a reward to extremist Israelis for attacks on Palestinians and Muslim sanctuaries. is believed to be,” said Ahmed, the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Social Development.Majidalani Said In a statement to Arab News. “We express our surprise and condemnation at this uncalculated political step that harms the Palestinian people.”

But former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Kidwa downplayed the news, noting that countries such as the UAE and Bahrain, which he said were “more important than Azerbaijan,” had previously opened embassies in Israel. did.

Katavera Roberts


Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on US, world and business news.