Defense Minister Benny Gantz bid farewell on Sunday to his Azerbaijani counterpart, Defense Minister Colonel General Zakir Hasanov as Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to take the reins of Israel’s incoming government.
Gantz thanked Hasanov “on behalf of Israel’s defense establishment for the important decision taken by the Azeri parliament to open an embassy in Israel,” his office said in a statement.
“I also thanked him for his partnership and commitment to fostering defense relations between Israel and Azerbaijan over the years,” Gantz said.
“This reflects the deep friendship between our countries, which I am certain will develop further and make a positive impact on the region.”
The Azerbaijani parliament approved an historic motion on Friday to open an embassy in the State of Israel – the first Muslim Shi’ite majority nation to do so.
Israel already has an embassy in the capital city of Baku.
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the decision in a statement on Friday, calling Azerbaijan “an important partner of Israel and home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world.”
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992, while the Israeli government was led by then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.