Security co-op between Azerbaijan & Israel may foster long-term stability in the region – Israeli pundit [EXCLUSIVE] [PHOTOS]
As reported yesterday the Embassy of Azerbaijan has been officially inaugurated in Israel with the special participation of the two countries foreign ministers Jeyhun Bayramov and Eli Cohen, as well as MPs, members of the general public, and artists.
Baruk Leviyev, political analyst and the head of Israeli based organization Jerusalemhand, was also present at the opening. Giving an exclusive interview to Azernews, the first English-language newspaper in Azerbaijan, Leviyev shared his views on the opening of our embassy in Israel and its future prospects between the two countries.
Q: How do you evaluate the importance of opening the embassy of Azerbaijan in Israel?
A: The opening of Azerbaijan's embassy in Israel is, first of all, of symbolic importance for two countries with rich history and culture. It also has practical benefits for the two countries, especially in the context of economic and political relations.
As the Foreign Ministers of both countries emphasized at yesterday's opening event, the opening of the embassy is a step towards diplomatic, economic and trade relations between Azerbaijan and Israel.
It can also improve the status of Azerbaijan and Israel in the international world, and at the same time, it can lead to the strengthening of security and stability for the two countries.
Q: Israel has always supported the rightful position of Azerbaijan during the occupation of its territories by Armenia. Israel has sided with Azerbaijan during the second Karabakh war. What factors bring the two countries closer together?
A: There are several factors that bring Israel and Azerbaijan closer:
The most important thing is that Jews and Azerbaijanis have ancient historical relations. You know that the historical relations of a group of peoples known as Caucasian Jews or Mountain Jews with Azerbaijan go back to very ancient times. Another factor I should emphasize is that Azerbaijan was one of the first Muslim countries to recognize the state of Israel.
In addition, security cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel is of special importance. These relations are based on a long history of 30 years. In short, Israel helps Azerbaijan in the field of military equipment, intelligence and supplies, and Azerbaijan also gives Israel access to strategically important places.
If we approach the close relations of the two countries from another aspect, the energy factor can be considered to have an important position here. It is known that Azerbaijan is the largest oil and gas producer in the region, and Israel's need for energy resources provides an opportunity to strengthen our economic relations. Another factor that makes us close is our political interests. It is known that Israel and Azerbaijan have common interests in the region and foreign policy. They support each other and cooperate together in the fight against terrorism.
Q. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner and friendly country, some countries show a non-constructive position towards Azerbaijan. One of such countries is neighboring Iran, which is allied with Armenia and undermines the peace process in the South Caucasus. What role can Israel play in ensuring sustainable peace in the region?
A: First of all, I must say with regret that a state like Iran is a neighbor of Azerbaijan with a large territory in the region. The policy of the Iranian government is clear. They treat the state of Israel in the same way as they treat Azerbaijan. The point is that Iran cannot normally accept Azerbaijan's relations with Israel or its brotherly Turkiye in the region, and for this reason, it often interferes in Azerbaijan's internal politics with its provocative actions that affect peace and security in the region. Azerbaijan is a state that is rapidly developing and integrating into the advanced development of Europe.
Israel is not a country that intends to be involved in a war with any country. Israel is a self-defending state in its present state, and our main intention is to co-operate for peace and development. As for the support of Azerbaijan in the region, you know that Israel is a loyal country in friendship and based on this loyalty, it always stands by its partners until the end. I must note that the opening of the new embassy just yesterday will further strengthen the chains of Azerbaijan-Israel co-operation in the future.
Elnur Enveroglu is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on @ElnurMammadli1
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