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Israel’s FM invites Azerbaijani counterpart to Tel Aviv for embassy opening

January 14, 2023

Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen thanks Azerbaijani counterpart Gihon Bayramov for decision to become first Shiite country to open embassy in Jewish state

Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen spoke Friday with his Azerbaijani counterpart Gihon Bayramov. 

The latter congratulated Cohen on assuming his position and expressed his desire to further strengthen relations between the two countries. Cohen expressed his satisfaction and thanked for Azerbaijan's decision to open an embassy in Israel and invited Bayramov to visit Israel to open his country's embassy in Tel Aviv.

During the meeting, Cohen asked to convey to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev Israel's hope to receive him during the current year. He added that the opening of the embassy is an important step in deepening the ties between the two peoples and the two countries, which will allow for increased cooperation in many fields.

Cohen told his counterpart that he "considers Azerbaijan as a close friend and an important regional anchor." According to him, "Azerbaijan is a very popular country in Israel, thanks to its policy of tolerance for religions and the presence of an ancient Jewish community in the country." The two ministers also discussed the regional situation, and Cohen insisted on the Iranian threat. They finally agree to meet soon, without specifying a place or date.

Cohen spoke earlier with the Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell. The latter stressed that Israel is one of the closest partners of the European Union in the Middle East and welcomed the normalization of Israel's relations with a number of Arab countries. Borrell reaffirmed the European Union's support for the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two agreed to meet as soon as possible, perhaps at the Munich Security Conference in February. Borrell also invited Cohen to Brussels.

On November 18, the Azerbaijani Parliament announced a historic decision to open an Azerbaijani embassy in Tel Aviv, as this embassy will be the first embassy of a country whose majority population and government are Shiites. Then Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid said at the time: "I welcome the decision of the Azerbaijani parliament to open an embassy for Azerbaijan in Israel. Azerbaijan is an important partner for Israel and a home for one of the major Jewish communities in the Muslim world."

The decision to open the embassy reflects the depth of the existing relations between the two countries. The step is the result of the efforts made by the government of Israel to build solid diplomatic bridges with the Islamic world.

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