Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Thursday. According to the Israeli statement, they discussed “various regional and global developments. Ways to further strengthen the strategic relationship and cooperate in addressing common challenges”. “They also touched on the areas of security and industrial cooperation. Built on the previous meeting between them this year within the framework of the Munich Security Conference,” the statement said.
Gallant commended the president’s “leadership and personal commitment to deepening ties between their countries, beginning with the opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Israel”. The leaders emphasized shared goals for greater security, economic and technological exchanges, as well as a common desire for regional peace and stability. On Monday, Azerbaijani security forces reportedly foiled an attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku. Azerbaijani police arrested an Afghan national, Fauzan Mosa Khan, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against an unspecified foreign embassy.
While Azerbaijan’s statement did not specify the embassy, Turan local news outlet noted that a video released by the country’s State Security Service indicated the suspect was monitoring the area where the Israeli mission is located. Jerusalem and Baku have recently strengthened diplomatic ties. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Baku in April, following the opening of an embassy in Israel in March. In doing so, Azerbaijan became the first Shia 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 the independence of Azerbaijan after the breakup of the Soviet Union.