Israeli ex-minister: Azerbaijan doing fast, effective construction works at liberated territories
    Caliber.Az interview with Ayoob Kara

    INTERVIEWS  08 June 2023 - 12:48

    In an interview with Caliber.Az, Ayoob Kara, former Israeli Communications and Cybersecurity Minister and President of the Center for Economic Peace spoke about the current level of the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations and the Azerbaijan-Armenia peace talks.

    - Azerbaijan and Israel. How do you assess the current level of relations between the two countries?

    - We already have strong ties in the field of defence, agriculture, energy, tourism and the hi-tech sector. I believe Israel and Azerbaijan got excellent relations, as demonstrated by the recent visit by the Israeli President and Foreign Minister to Azerbaijan and the visit of the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister and his deputy to İsrael. With the opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy, the relations are only getting better and stronger.

    Azerbaijan's trade turnover with Israel from January through February 2023 amounted to $334.1 million, which is 26.36 per cent more year-on-year. The country's share in Azerbaijan's total trade turnover accounted for 4.66 per cent. I hope, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Israel is expected to double in the nearest future. I should also underline that as President Ilham Aliyev: ‘Jewish community of Azerbaijan is a big asset for our country”. It means that they play a wonderful role in the current relations’ level.

    - Which factors have contributed to the rapprochement between Azerbaijan and Israel?

    - I believe both countries have shared values. Economic and social aspects and mutual strategic benefits became the most important factors that brought the parties closer. The obtaining of advanced military technologies to fight against Armenia during the war and applying the impact of the powerful Jewish lobby in the West to balance Russia's hegemony in the region made Israel a significant actor for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's rich energy possessions and geopolitical position as a neighbour of Iran made it an essential country for Israel.

    - Which positive changes in bilateral cooperation do you expect as a result of the Israeli President's visit to Azerbaijan?

    - We will see positive developments after the visit. Herzog's visit further enhances and diversifies cooperation and relations between the two countries and strengthens strategic ties. It will impact the entire region towards the direction of peace and prosperity and development.

    An agreement in the health sector was reached. Presidents of both countries exchanged ideas on ensuring peace and security in the region. Iran is placed on the main agenda of the bilateral meeting. This visit showed that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for the foreign policy of Israel.

    - The Azerbaijani society is very grateful to the State of Israel for supporting Azerbaijan's position in the conflict with Armenia. What does Israeli society know about this dispute? Is it well-informed of the conflict?

    - Most Israelis are so preoccupied with Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian terror groups that they do not follow this conflict so much.  However, the Israeli government supports Azerbaijan and is aware of the reality there.  We see parallels with how the West treats Azerbaijan and Israel.

    - You've visited Karabakh after the restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. What are your impressions of what you saw in terms of the scale of destruction and reconstruction work?

    - What I saw is worse than what I saw in Lebanon. It is clear that much is yet to be done for their recovery as the scale of destruction is just immense. The environmental damage to the region has been huge, so, a large area of forest was chopped down. Contamination and appropriation of water sources are immense. The illegal exploitation of natural resources is an undeniable fact. There are still millions of landmines. The religious sites were destroyed and burned down by Armenian military forces. However, Azerbaijan is doing fast and effective construction work in the liberated territories. The world should support Azerbaijan further.

    - Which countries, in your opinion, are not benefiting from the normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations?

    - Iran and Russia.

    - The issue of “Armenian genocide" recognition is often raised in Israel. Who do you think benefits from this and do the supporters of this myth have a chance in Israel?

    - It is raised mainly by the left.  The right does not want to alienate Azerbaijan and sabotage the reconciliation with Turkey.

    - When should we expect to see you again in Azerbaijan?

    - If I get an invitation from the Azerbaijani side, I would be happy to visit Azerbaijan again and see progress and the liberated territories.


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