By Rasana Gasimova
Israel seeks to develop both business relations and people-to-people ties with Azerbaijan, Israeli Ambassador George Deek said at a press-conference held in Baku on January 24.
Deek said that the two countries are developing the cooperation in the tourism sector, noting that the number of tourists coming from Israel to Azerbaijan was 10,000 people in 2016, whereas in 2019 this figure reached 60,000 tourists.
“The countries have an agreement on direct flights which are operated five times a week. We plan to bring the number of flights up to seven,” he added.
Deek also noted that the number of Azerbaijani tourists visiting Israel is very low. He expressed hope that increasing the number of flights will help increase the number of tourists from Azerbaijan to Israel. “We also try to simplify visa procedures between the countries and ensure digitalization of this system.”
Deek said that the Israeli Foreign Ministry does not urge Israelis not to come to Azerbaijan.
"On the contrary, the desire of Israeli tourists to visit Azerbaijan is always welcomed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. From time to time, the Israeli Foreign Ministry warns Israelis living in all parts of the world to avoid visiting unsafe countries. This applies to all countries, including Azerbaijan. This is connected with precautionary measures,” he stressed.
Deek noted that Azerbaijan will be represented by a pavilion at the international tourism exhibition to be held in Israel next month: “The delegation from Azerbaijan will also participate in the event dedicated to cyber technologies that will be held in Israel next week,” he said.
He further stressed that relations in the agricultural sphere between the two countries are successfully developing.
Deek noted that Azerbaijan is Israel’s firend, saying that Azerbaijan is a country where representatives of different nations and religions live in peace and security.
"Tolerance and mutual respect stand at the heart of this country. In an unstable region, Azerbaijan and Israel are the strongholds of peace, stability and security,” he said.
Touching on other spheres of cooperation, Deek emphasized that most of oil imported by Israel comes from Azerbaijan. "Relations between countries are developing dynamically in the field of security and the fight against terrorism," he added.
The ambassador noted that Israel and Azerbaijan share the view that the world should be free from aggression and terror.
“Israel, like other countries in the world, believes that we must live in a safe world. Israel has always supported the struggle against Nazism and appreciates Azerbaijan's contribution in this struggle," Deek said.
Speaking about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Deek noted that Israel fully supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.
"We know what a conflict is, and we fully support the efforts of the countries of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Israel will support any agreement that will be reached between the two countries,” he said.
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