Exclusive interview by defence.az with Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Defense of Israel, and leader of “Yisrael Beiteinu” party.
by Bahram Batiyev
- Mr. Minister, how would you assess the current level of Azerbaijan-Israel relations? We are aware that you have put much effort into elevating these relations to a brand new level and you are even called one of the architects of Azerbaijan-Israel relations.
- Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are on a very high level. We always strive to strengthen and develop them in all fields. I first visited Baku in 1997 and even back then I realized how important relations with Azerbaijan are for our country. I am proud that I had stood at the origins of these relations. At all my ministerial posts in the government, I always tried to further the strengthening of cooperation and partnership with Azerbaijan in every possible way for the sake of both our countries. Jews have lived in the territories of Azerbaijan since the times of Babylonian exile and have always felt comfortable. The friendly relations between our nations are built on the amiable ties between our states.
I would like to remind that Israel was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan, regained in 1991.
- What is the status of the current military-technical cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel? What are the perspectives?
- Like in all other fields, our countries have established close cooperation in the military-technical area as well. We regularly support dialogue at a level of heads of defense institutions of both countries, discuss issues of mutual interest and exchange information. In September last year I received my colleague, the minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, Mr. Zakir Hasanov, who came to Israel on an official visit.
Seizing this opportunity, I would like to convey to Zakir Askerovich my heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of his birthday and best wishes of good health and further success in his post as the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan.
- Not everybody in the world is happy with such close cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel. What would you like to say to the adversaries of the cooperation between our states?
- I would like to tell them not to be envious, envy is not good. But if we are to be serious about it, the amiable and cooperating relations between our two countries, the high level of cooperation in all fields is one of the scarce examples in the modern world of a partnership of a Muslim country, Azerbaijan, with a Jewish state, Israel. I would like to once more underline that we assess highly our relations with Azerbaijan. Both our countries are located in complicated geopolitical regions. Just like Azerbaijan, Israel has to face difficult problems on a daily basis. We are brought closer by our will to provide security and quiet lives for the peoples of our countries.
- Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Minister!