Azerbaijan becomes the first Shi’ite Muslim nation to post an ambassador in Israel.
By Pesach Benson, TPS
Azerbaijan became the first Shi’ite Muslim nation to post an ambassador in Israel as Ambassador Mukhtar Mamed Oglu presented his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Ambassador Mamdov’s appointment comes after Azerbaijan’s decision to open an embassy in Israel for the first time since the establishment of relations, about 30 years ago.
Upon the arrival of the ambassador of Azerbaijan, his country’s national anthem was played by the IDF band and then the ambassador reviewed the IDF honor guard. After submitting his charter to the president, the two held a meeting, after which the ambassador signed the guest book of the president’s house. At the end of the ceremony, the Israeli anthem was played.
Herzog said, “It is very significant for us that you are the first ambassador of Azerbaijan in Israel, since this is the realization of the initiative of your president, for whom I have great respect. As I also told him in our last conversation, my greetings go out to you and the citizens of Azerbaijan on the occasion of Ramadan.”
In November, Azerbaijan’s National Assembly approved opening an embassy in Israel. The embassy is expected to open sometime this year.
Israel was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijani independence in 1991 and already has an embassy in Baku. An estimated 20,000 Jews in the Caucasus country.
Azerbaijan shares a border with Iran and relations between the two countries are tense. On Jan. 27, a gunman attacked the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran, killing the embassy’s security chief and injuring two others. Baku blames Iran for the attack.
Iran has accused Azerbaijan of maintaining a secret military alliance with Israel and allowing Israeli soldiers to be stationed along the 765 km border.
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