By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan and Israel, the two strategic partners, are keen to strengthen and expand their cooperation.
High-Tech Park hosted Roundtable on Azerbaijan-Israel Innovation between the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies and Israel's Innovation Authority, Trend reports.
Deputy Minister Elmir Valizade made the opening remarks and emphasized that cooperation with Israel in the field of innovation is a priority for Azerbaijan.
At the event, Avi Luvton, General Director of the Asia Pacific Division of the Israeli Innovation Ministry, spoke about the prospects of innovation cooperation between the two countries.
At the event, representatives of the High-Tech Park under the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, State Fund for Information Technology Development, High Technology Research Center and Azerbaijani startups which have a potential for global market access, made a presentation.
Finally, the sides exchanged views on joint steps to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of innovation.
Azerbaijan and Israel have reliable military partnerships. Israel plays role of an important ally in supplying Azerbaijani army with modern weapons. Azerbaijan was among the top three countries in the list of Israeli arms importers in 2017.
Recently, Azerbaijan has started production of a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - “Pegasus 120.” The new UAV is produced jointly with the Israeli company Aeronautics at AZAD Systems Co. production branch of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Industry.
In 2016, Azerbaijan has received $ 5 billion worth defense equipment from Israel.
According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Israel amounted to $671.6 million in 2017, of which about $32.7 million accounted for the import of Israeli products. Azerbaijan holds 40-45 percent share in energy imports of Israel.
Tourism is one of the areas where Azerbaijan and Israel successfully develop cooperation. The number of tourists coming to Azerbaijan from Israel is growing, and all tourists visiting Azerbaijan return home with excellent impressions.
Israir Airlines & Tourism Ltd., an Israeli airline based at Sde Dov Airport (SDV) in Tel Aviv, is carrying out flights to Baku three times a week, as part of tourist packages. The direct flight is of great significance in terms of mutual increase in tourism turnover.
Azerbaijan has a huge potential for cooperation with Israel in economic sphere, particularly in such non-oil sectors as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and IT. Agriculture in Israel is a highly developed industry, while the country ranks among world leaders in advanced agricultural technologies, regardless the fact that the geography of the country is not naturally favorable for agriculture.
Israel recognized the independence of Azerbaijan very shortly after the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Israel were established in 1992. Since gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has established a position of one of Israel’s closest friends in the Muslim world. The strategic relationship included cooperation in trade and security matters, cultural and educational exchanges.
The partnership between the two nations is based not only on political, economic and energy cooperation, but also on shared cultural values, due to a fact that a large Jewish community lives in Azerbaijan. Today’s friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are built on centuries of Jewish-Azerbaijani coexistence. Estimated 9,000 Jews in the country are "fully part" of Azerbaijani society.
Several synagogues are operating in the capital of Azerbaijan, as well as in Guba and Oguz regions. Synagogue, opened in Baku in 2003 is one of the largest in Europe. In September 2003, the first Jewish school was opened in Baku.
In 2016, a branch of Baku International Multiculturalism Centre (BIMC) has been opened in Israel aimed at increase of the international community's awareness of Azerbaijan's and Israel's history and culture.
Last month George Deek was appointed as a new Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan.
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