December 09
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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz concluded an official visit to Azerbaijan, where he met with President Ilham Aliyev to strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries, the Jerusalem Post reported.

According to a statement from the Israeli minister's office, the visit was "dedicated to security and political issues." During the visit, Gantz also met with the defense minister, the head of the State Border Guard Service and visited the headquarters of the State Border Guard Service. He was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, director general of the Defense Ministry, Dror Shalom, director of the Policy Bureau, and Brig. Gen. Yaakov Dolf, secretary of war.

During his meeting with Azerbaijani officials, Gantz "stressed the importance of maintaining strategic relations between the State of Israel and Azerbaijan and continuing to work toward regional and global peace and stability."

The officials also discussed developments in the Middle East since the signing of the Abrahamic Accords and the development of Israel's ties with Turkey and other countries in the region and the world.

As Jpost notes, Azerbaijan borders Iran, "which, according to foreign reports, allows Israel to conduct spying operations and more."

Baku has also been a major supplier of crude oil to Israel and in recent years has become a major recipient of Israeli military equipment. A Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report from 2020 said Baku was the second largest buyer of Israeli weapons systems after India.

Gantz's visit came days after video footage emerged of Azerbaijani soldiers executing six Armenian prisoners of war captured during the last round of fighting in September. The video came weeks after other reports of the rape, murder and torture of an Armenian soldier by the Azerbaijani military.

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