Yoav Gallant
Yoav GallantElad Malka

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant departed on Wednesday evening for an official visit to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Before his departure, the minister commented on the goals of his visit and said, "I am now leaving for Azerbaijan, at the invitation of the President and the Minister of Defense. This visit is another step up in the ever-tightening relations between Israel and Azerbaijan."

"The visit comes against the background of a period filled with security challenges. I will accurately present to the Azeris the global danger of military nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran, I will detail to them the dangerous actions that Iran is carrying out within Israel's borders and trying to carry out inside Israel and throughout the Middle East," added Gallant.

He also commented on the IDF's activity on the Lebanese border in light of the provocations of Hezbollah, saying, "We have deterred activists with non-lethal means and will continue to protect the State of Israel. Anyone who tests us will receive a response. We have a lot to do and we will know how to do what is needed at the right time."

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Azerbaijan, a largely Shiite Muslim country, borders Iran, making Baku's strengthening alliance with Israel an important factor for Israeli defense and Middle Eastern geopolitics.

Last November, the Azerbaijani parliament announced its historic decision to open an embassy in Israel.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev later signed an order on the establishment of the embassy, which will be located in Tel Aviv, and will be the first embassy in Israel of a country with a Shiite majority and a Shiite government.

Azerbaijan opened a trade representation office in Israel in 2021. President Isaac Herzog visited Azerbaijan in May, and met with Aliyev.