(JNS) — Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met on Thursday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku.
They discussed “various regional and global developments… [and] avenues to further strengthen strategic ties and cooperate in the face of common challenges,” according to an Israeli statement.
“They also touched on areas of security and industrial cooperation … [and] built on the previous meeting held between them this year, within the framework of the Munich Security Conference,” added the statement.
Gallant expressed appreciation for the president’s “leadership and personal commitment to deepening the bond between their countries, starting with the opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in Israel.”
The leaders also emphasized shared goals for greater security, economic and technological exchanges, as well as a common desire for regional peace and stability.
In the afternoon, Gallant met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov.
“The visit to Azerbaijan at this particular time, when our region and the world face a growing number of complex security challenges, reflects our shared commitment to take our ties to the next level,” said Gallant.
“I am certain that this is only the beginning of an enduring partnership. The potential for defense, industrial and military exchanges is only growing. Azerbaijan is not only a strategic partner but also an asset with great regional influence in the economic, energy security and additional fields,” he added.
Gallant briefed Hasanov on the security challenges Israel is facing, emphasizing the global implications of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and aggression via proxy terrorism.
On Monday, Azerbaijani security forces reportedly thwarted an attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku. Azerbaijani police arrested Afghan citizen Fawzan Mosa Khan on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against an unspecified foreign embassy.
While the statement by Azerbaijan did not specify the embassy, the Turan local news outlet noted that the video released by the country’s State Security Service indicated that the suspect had been surveilling the area where the Israeli mission is located.
Jerusalem and Baku recently strengthened diplomatic relations. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Baku in April, which followed the March opening of an embassy in Israel. In doing so, Azerbaijan became the first Shi’ite country to open an embassy in the Jewish state.
Israel has operated an embassy in Baku since 1993, a year after relations were established. It was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union.