‘This visit was not surprising, just evidence that relations between Israel and Azerbaijan remain strong.’
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday completed a previously unannounced official visit to Azerbaijan, where he met with his Azeri counterpart and the country’s leader.
Gantz’s office said his trip focused on diplomatic and security issues in discussions with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov.
According to his office, Gantz went to “underline the importance of maintaining strategic relations between the State of Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan” and “to reflect on the changes that have taken place in the Middle East region after the signing of the” Abraham Accords.
The senior officials also “discussed the development of Israel’s ties with Turkey and other countries in the region and the world.”
Azerbaijan was satisfied that Israel and Turkey normalized relations in August, said Gallia Lindenstrauss, a senior researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies. However, Baku “won’t be the root” of more states joining the landmark agreement that saw several Arab states normalize ties with Israel, she told i24NEWS.
Gantz’s visit came two weeks after the latest rounds of fighting between Azerbaijan and its neighbor Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2020, the neighboring states fought a six-week war that claimed the lives of more than 6,000 soldiers and resulted in Azerbaijan’s conquest of some of the disputed territories, before a Russian-brokered ceasefire took effect.
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