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Israel to inaugurate permanent embassy in Turkmenistan

The embassy will be the closest official Israeli mission to Iran.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

In a regional show of strength, Israel will open a permanent embassy in Turkmenistan, the former Soviet republic and Central Asian nation that is on Iran’s doorstep, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced on Sunday.

The inauguration comes as another Muslim neighbor of Iran—Azerbaijan—is opening its first-ever embassy in the Jewish state. Both diplomatic moves signal that Israel is a present and growing influence in the region.

Israel’s top diplomat is slated to travel to Turkmenistan soon to inaugurate the official mission in the capital city of Ashgabat, about 15 miles away from the border with the Islamic Republic.

“The relations between our countries are important and strategic, and this move will further strengthen the connection and increase our cooperation” tweeted Cohen.

A Muslim-majority country of about 6 million people, Turkmenistan, located just north of Iran, established relations with Israel in the run-up to its declaration of independence in 1991. About a decade ago, in light of good relations between the two states, Israel opened a temporary embassy there which has been active until now when the newly constructed permanent embassy has been completed.

Over the years, senior officials from Israel and Turkmenistan have visited each other’s countries, signing agreements of cooperation in the fields of politics, economy and energy. Recently, progress has been made in collaboration in health and cyber defense as well.

Historically, Turkmenistan, which possesses one of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas, has long served as a thoroughfare for several empires and cultures, and was one of the great cities of the Islamic world.

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