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Azerbaijan’s relations with US, Israel, ‘not against’ anyone

It's “impossible” for Azerbaijan to stay on the sidelines of the Turkey-Israel relationship, says Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Washington Khazar Ibrahim.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Heydar Oghlu Aliyev on Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Heydar Oghlu Aliyev on Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.

Azerbaijan’s alliances with Israel and the United States are about its national interests and vision, and are not designed to threaten anyone, the country’s ambassador to Washington told JNS.

Khazar Ibrahim said on Monday that the bilateral and trilateral relationships among the three countries are “deep, broad and strategic,” with high-level visits in all directions on a weekly basis.

Baku and Jerusalem are seen as key partners on matters of cybersecurity and oil, and Azerbaijan recently opened an embassy in Tel Aviv.

Iran, which shares a lengthy border with Azerbaijan, has long viewed Jerusalem-Baku ties with suspicion and has alleged that Israel uses the border area as a staging point for covert operations.   

Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen both recently visited the county.

“Whatever we do with our partners, we do it for ourselves. We do it based on our national interests. We do it based on our shared values and vision,” said Ibrahim. “We don’t do it against anybody else. We’re on the same page in the rules-based international order, and the more the rules-based international order is [prevalent] in the world, the better it is for our region, and for the world.”

Azerbaijan is also a close ally of Turkey, and Ibrahim himself has served as ambassador to Ankara. He has previously worked with a number of members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s cabinet. 

As Erdogan begins another term as president, Ibrahim told JNS that his country can serve as an effective mediator between the two sides when tensions inevitably flare. 

“We cannot stay out of the equation. Impossible. Let me underline impossible. Why? We’re strategic partners, we will never stay away from helping Turkey and Israel to be as close as possible and working together,” said Ibrahim. “Azerbaijan will always try to help anytime something unpleasant might happen between our friends, partners and allies.”

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