Israel says Armenia planing to open embassy
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Israel says Armenia planing to open embassy

Foreign Ministry hails Yerevan for ‘important’ move, but Israeli news station reports process far from a done deal

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 7, 2017. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 7, 2017. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Armenia has decided to open an embassy in Tel Aviv in the near future, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

The mission is expected to open “at the earliest possible time,” the ministry said, ideally some time between late 2019 and early 2020.

“This decision reflects well the significant progress in bilateral relations between the two states over the past year,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The opening of the embassy is a new and important chapter in bilateral relations and we are confident that this will further strengthen the friendship between the two peoples and enhance cooperation between the states in all areas.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed Armenia’s declared intention as a “significant step” for bilateral relations, noting that its embassy would be the 90th foreign embassy in Israel. “Certainly, this is indicative of the steady rise in Israel’s strengthening position in the world. We will continue to work to strengthen Israel’s international relations,” he said.

However, sources in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, said that the country was merely exploring opening an embassy in Israel, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported.

“The embassy, if and when it opens, will be in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem,” the report quoted the source as saying.

In this undated photo, members of the Jerusalem Armenian community protest outside the Knesset, demanding that the State of Israel recognize the Armenian genocide. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Diplomatic relations between the countries were established in April 1992. Israel in 2017 appointed a non-resident ambassador to Armenia, Eliyahu Yerushalmi, who resides in Jerusalem.

Ties between Jerusalem and Yerevan are solid, despite Israel’s steadfast refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide, which was committed by Ottoman Turks a century ago.

There was no immediate comment from the Armenian government.

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