Azerbaijani and Israeli Presidents Meet in Baku
Azerbaijani and Israeli presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Isaac Herzog, meet in Baku to further strengthen bilateral ties.
On 30 May, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, held in-depth discussions in Baku.
The visit follows the opening of an Azerbaijani embassy in Israel in March, which strengthened the strategic cooperation between the two countries, but further contributed to mounting tensions with Iran. This topic was discussed at length during today’s meeting, with Herzog stating, “We look at the regional security structure that is threatened by Iran—a topic that we discussed in depth.”
The two presidents signed a plan of cooperation for 2023-2028 in the fields of health and medical sciences between the Ministries of Health in Azerbaijan and Israel. Moreover, tourism was discussed, with the number of direct flights between the two countries increasing from the current figure of four per week. Other discussed avenues of cooperation included increased trade, cybersecurity, and energy.
The bilateral relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel has been of specific importance in securing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Aliyev stated that the defence cooperation between the two countries and Israeli military equipment has allowed Azerbaijan to “protect our statehood, our values, our national interest, and our territorial integrity.” Israel is one of Azerbaijan’s main military suppliers, with shipments increasing during the 2020 Second Karabakh War.
Both presidents noted with pride the long friendly relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel. Herzog tweeted, “The relations between our nations are a model for other countries who choose the path of peace and cooperation, and an example of friendly relations between Muslims and Jews.” While Aliyev stated, “As an independent country, we are only 31 years old, but we have centuries of history of interaction, friendship, and mutual support,” and mentioned how the Jewish community in Azerbaijan is “a big asset to our country.”
During the visit, Herzog visited the Alley of Martyrs and laid a wreath at the Eternal Flame monument. A symbolic gesture, one that is reminiscent of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov’s visit to Yad Vashem in March. Similarly, the Israeli president laid a wreath at Heydar Aliyev’s grave, who was the president of Azerbaijan 30 years ago when the two countries first officially established bilateral ties.
Furthermore, the first ladies of Azerbaijan and Israel, Mehriban Aliyeva and Michal Herzog, visited the Gala Archaeological-Ethnographic Museum Complex, where Herzog learnt about the traditional arts of Azerbaijan and the history of the village of Gala, including the ancient Petroglyphs found there.