President Shimon Peres held a diplomatic working meeting, Monday, with Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, the first foreign minister of his country to visit since diplomatic relations began. During the meeting the two agreed on strengthening and deepening the strategic relations between the two countries and President Peres extended an official invitation to the President of Azerbaijan to visit Israel.
President Peres addressed the issue of Iran, which shares a border with Azerbaijan, noting that it funds terror, develops nuclear weapons and casts a heavy shadow over the entire Middle East. He also said, "I know the policy of Azerbaijan is of peace, friendship, development but also of independence. With your unique geographic location there is no doubt that you already are and will continue to be a key country in this part of the world Azerbaijan takes a clear stand against terror, against war." Peres added that Israel sees Azerbaijan as an important ally and a true friend of Israel and so Israel works to strengthen and deepen the cooperation between the two countries including in the field of trade which has reached $125 million a year between the two countries and when energy is added to the calculation reaches $3 billion a year.
Foreign Minister Mammadyarov thanked President Peres for his welcome and said, "Our country is not in an easy neighborhood and you correctly indicate that we believe in having a good neighborhood for the development of the state." He noted that Israel is also located in a very volatile neighborhood and one of the ideas for building good relations is that you recognize our problems with understanding. I believe there is a huge opportunity to expand our cooperation and it will be very helpful for the two nations."