search

Peres discusses Iranian threat with Azerbaijan

‘Huge opportunity’ exists to expand already strong economic relations with Israel, says envoy Elmar Mammadyaro

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (L) meets with former President Shimon Peres, at Peres' residence in Jerusalem, on April 22, 2013. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (L) meets with former President Shimon Peres, at Peres' residence in Jerusalem, on April 22, 2013. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

President Shimon Peres met with Azeribaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on Monday in a visit that was said to revolve around the nuclear threat emanating from Iran, which neighbors Azerbaijan.

Tehran “is today considered the greatest danger to peace in the world,” Peres said, according to a press release from the President’s Residence. “I know the policy of Azerbaijan is of peace, friendship, development but also of independence. With your unique geographic location there is no doubt that you already are and will continue to be a key country in this part of the world. Azerbaijan takes a clear stand against terror, against war.”

“Our country is not in an easy neighborhood, and you correctly indicate that we believe in having a good neighborhood for the development of the state,” Mammadyarov said.

Israel and Azerbaijan have strong diplomatic and economic ties that deepened in 2012. During that year, the two countries signed a $1.4 billion arms deal, while Azerbaijan’s state oil company invested in an Israeli offshore oil drilling project.

During the same period, relations between Iran and secular-minded Azerbaijan became increasingly rocky. In March of 2012, Azerbaijan broke up what it said was a Iranian-trained terror ring planning to attack Israeli and American targets in the country, and in December, Iran accused Azerbaijan of using Israeli drones to spy on the Islamic Republic across their shared border.

There were also recurring reports that Azerbaijan had permitted Israel to use its airstrips as a launch pad for an attack on Iran.

Mammadyarov is in Israel on a two-day diplomatic trip, the first by a foreign minister of Azerbaijan.

The visit “serves to further promote our already very good relations,” Peres said. “Azerbaijan is a great country with a great future which is beginning to fulfill the potential of its natural and human wealth.”

Trade between Israel and Azerbaijan amounts to some $3 billion per annum, including trade in the energy sector, according to government figures.

Azerbaijan wants to build itself into an independent, multicultural country, Mammadyarov said, adding that “Israel is also located in a very volatile neighborhood and one of the ideas for building good relations is that you recognize our problems with understanding.

“I believe there is a huge opportunity to expand our cooperation and it will be very helpful for the two nations,” he said.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed