Azerbaijan’s National Assembly today ratified the country’s government’s decision to operate an embassy in Tel Aviv, thus establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel. At the same time, Azerbaijan decided to appoint a Diplomatic Mission to the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah.
The Azeri government announced its decision on November 1.
The two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for 30 years, with Israel operating an embassy in Baku since 1992, while it has been operating for years in Tel Aviv, Azerbaijan’s interest office. The two countries have cultivated strong ties, with emphasis in the field of military equipment.
As reported by Israeli and Azeri media, during the four-year period 2016-2020, 69% of the defense equipment imported by Azerbaijan is of Israeli production. In the recent war with Armenia, Israel-Azerbaijan’s close military relations have been in the spotlight – but also the focus of criticism of the Armenian government.
As Azeri journalistic sources comment, quoting the country’s government officials, the delay in opening an embassy in Israel was considered imperative both because of Azerbaijan’s status as a member country of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and because of Baku’s effort not to exacerbate the occasional his strained relations with Tehran.
The reason for the timing of this decision is related to the general spirit of the Abraham Accords, in connection with the improvement of Israel-Turkey relations, a country with which Azerbaijan maintains strong political, diplomatic and cultural ties, Azeri media point out.
The reason for this development was a letter from the President of Israel, Yitzhak Herzog, to his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, on the occasion of completing thirty years since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations last October. In his letter, she expressed the proposal that Azerbaijan should operate an embassy in Israel in order to upgrade relations and at the same time invited his Azeri counterpart to officially visit Israel.
Azerbaijan is the first Shiite Muslim country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.