Israel gives priority to Azerbaijan over Armenia

Tue 01 Nov 2011 08:02 GMT | 12:02 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Israeli journalist and political activist Avigdor Eskin.

The media report that a high ranking Armenian official is to visit Israel to examine the potential for cooperation on strategic issues. Does this seem likely and, if so, why are the details kept secret?

Israel and Armenia long since established diplomatic relations and contacts between our countries are regular. Certainly, it is possible to view any Israeli-Armenian contacts today in the light of Ankara’s hostile attitude towards Jerusalem, but no definite steps are foreseen by any party.

We can now say for sure that the agenda will include the tragedy of 1915. It should be noted that Israel has never denied that Turkey allowed the massacres to happen. But the figures presented by the Armenian side seem unrealistic. Moreover, the Armenians have recently been accusing us of initiating the massacre and deportation of 1915. It turned out via Wikileaks that it was the Armenian president that was behind the anti-Semitic campaign. This all requires discussion.

I have to note that discussions of this issue, like everything else, will not affect the interests of Baku. Our strategic cooperation will continue further.

Are relations between Israel and Turkey so bad as to strengthen relations with Armenia, which is allied with Iran?

Ankara is aggressive and hostile, but Armenia has almost nothing to offer Israel in this context. There are no clear terms for talks on strategic cooperation with Yerevan, especially because Israel is committed to relations with Azerbaijan.

In the light of the media reports, I would like to ask you a traditional question: may the Knesset recognize the "Armenian genocide" in response to Turkey?

The Knesset will not recognize the Armenian version as it currently stands.

Yerevan has already expressed its dissatisfaction that Azerbaijan is the main CIS importer of Israeli arms. What are the prospects for Armenian-Israeli cooperation in this sphere?

These talks were held long ago. It is possible to say that Israel will not establish contacts with Armenia which may hamper deepening cooperation with Azerbaijan.

The only significant results of talks could be an agreement that the Israeli lobby will no longer hinder the promotion of Armenian historical claims against Turkey. But this is not related to Azerbaijan’s interests. It should be noted that no one is accusing Azerbaijanis of that tragedy. Moreover, thousands of Azerbaijanis became indirect victims of the events when they were subjected to Armenian attacks in 1918-19.

In conclusion: can possible Armenian-Israeli cooperation in the defence sector target Azerbaijan?

This is ruled out. But the reciprocity principle should be observed in relations between the two countries. Therefore, if Azerbaijan expects consistency from Israel on Karabakh, it should not hurry to recognize the Palestinian state. This is what the principle of reciprocity demands.




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