Photo Credit: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israel's Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, and Azerbaijani Economy Minister Mikhail Jabarov in virtual conference, April 28 2021

Azerbaijan announced Wednesday its decision to open a Tourism Promotion Office and a Trade Office, with diplomatic status, in Israel.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi led the Israeli delegation to the second meeting of the Israel-Azerbaijan Joint Committee (the first meeting took place in 2018), which was held online and dealt with the promotion of bilateral relations and trade between the two countries.

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The head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the meeting, Economy Minister Mikhail Jabarov, announced at the meeting Wednesday that this year Azerbaijan intends to open a Tourism Promotion Office in the coming months as well as a Trade Office, with diplomatic status, in Israel.

“Azerbaijan is an ally, friend, and the largest energy supplier to the State of Israel,” Ashkenazi said in a statement.

“We will continue to work to develop the important relations with Azerbaijan and expand them to new areas.

“Azerbaijan’s recognition of Israel’s vaccination certificate will promote trade and tourism relations between the two countries and help Israel’s economy to continue to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.”

Prior to the meeting of the joint committee, Foreign Minister Ashkenazi and Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Jabarov discussed regional developments in the Middle East, including expanding the circle of peace countries in the framework of the Abraham Accords, and possible collaborations between the countries.

The two ministers discussed potential economic collaborations. The possibility of Azerbaijan’s recognition of Israel’s vaccination certificate, the “Green Passport” was also discussed, as well as granting permission for Israeli tourists to enter Azerbaijan.

Following that meeting an expanded meeting of the professional teams was held with the participation of the Foreign Ministry’s Director-General, Head of the Economic Division, Deputy Director-General of EuroAsian Affairs, and the Ambassador of Israel to Baku. Representatives of the Ministries of Economy, Energy, Agriculture, Water, Tourism, Health, Science, as well as the National Digital Israel Initiative and the Innovation Authority, also took part in the meeting.

In the framework of the conference, it was decided to advance a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the health field, to establish an inter-ministerial working group in the field of agriculture, and an MOU for cooperation in the field of water and desalination.

In recent years, Azerbaijan has become an important tourist destination for Israelis (approximately 50,000 tourists per year before the pandemic), and the countries are currently in the advanced stages of preparation towards signing tourism and aviation agreements.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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