Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant will head to Azerbaijan on Wednesday for a three-day official visit, the ministry’s press office announced in a statement.
Gallant is scheduled to meet with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, his Azerbaijani counterpart Gen. Zakir Hasanov, Chief of the State Border Service Col. Gen. Elchin Guliyev and other senior defense officials.
“Minister Gallant is conducting the visit with the aim of further strengthening the strategic ties between Israel and Azerbaijan in the fields of diplomacy, security and technology. This includes widening defense and industrial cooperation between the countries,” said the Israeli Defense Ministry, adding that Gallant is expected to discuss “opportunities to increase regional security and stability.”
On Monday, Azerbaijani security forces reportedly thwarted an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Baku. Afghan citizen Fawzan Mosa Khan was arrested by Azerbaijan police on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against an unspecified foreign embassy.
While the statement by Azerbaijan’s State Security Service did not specify the embassy, the Turan local news outlet noted that the video released by the State Security Service indicated that the suspect had been surveilling the area where the Israeli Embassy is located.
Jerusalem and Baku have recently strengthened diplomatic relations. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited the country’s capital in April, which followed the March opening of an embassy in Israel. In doing so, Azerbaijan became the first Shi’ite Muslim 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.