The official opening date of the Azerbaijani embassy in Israel has been disclosed, as reported by Israel’s i24 TV channel on Monday. The embassy’s launch ceremony is scheduled to occur on March 29 in Tel Aviv.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov is expected to attend the event.
“Bayramov’s trip – scheduled for March 29 and during which he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and President Isaac Herzog – will mark the first visit by an Azerbaijani official to the Jewish state in a decade. It will come after Cohen invited Bayramov in January,” i24 TV reported.
On November 26, 2022, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order to establish the Azerbaijani Embassy in the State of Israel. On January 11, the president appointed Mukhtar Mammadov as the first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to Israel, another significant milestone in the diplomatic relations between the Muslim-majority nation and the Jewish state.
“Azerbaijan is an important partner of Israel and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world. The decision to open an embassy reflects the depth of the relationship between our countries. This move is the result of the Israeli government's efforts to build strong diplomatic bridges with the Muslim world,” said Israel’s former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who was in office during the official announcement by Azerbaijan about the upcoming opening of the embassy in Tel Aviv.
On February 28, Ambassador-designate Mammadov confirmed his arrival in Tel Aviv via Twitter. Before the embassy's opening, he is expected to present his credentials to President Herzog. Mammadov, a career employee of both the Education and Foreign ministries of Azerbaijan who previously served as deputy education minister, is presently working with his team from the trade office of Azerbaijan in Tel Aviv. Following the embassy's inauguration, the mission will relocate to the embassy building.
The Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan, George Deek, welcomed Azerbaijan's decision to appoint an ambassador to Tel Aviv as the start of “a new era in bilateral relations.”
Israel has maintained an embassy in Baku since 1993, a year after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Jewish state was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Muslim-majority Azerbaijan.
Before launching the embassy, the government of Azerbaijan opened a trade office in Tel Aviv in 2021 and a tourism office in 2022.
The cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan extends beyond diplomatic and policy domains and encompasses areas such as defense and economic cooperation.
Israel purchases roughly 40 percent of its oil from Azerbaijan to meet its domestic demand . In turn, Azerbaijan has become the second-largest buyer of Israeli arms, contributing to the modernization of its military. In 2016, the contracts between Azerbaijan and Israeli companies with respect to purchasing of defense equipment reached $4.85 billion. Over the decade 2011-2020, military hardware purchased from Israel accounted for 69 percent of Azerbaijan’s total arms imports. According to the Stockholm Institute of Peace Research, in 2018-2022, Azerbaijan accounted for 9.1 percent of Israel’s total defense exports.