Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will travel to Azerbaijan Tuesday for his third visit in four years to the strategically important Muslim country on Iran’s northern border.
According to Liberman’s office, he will meet with the country’s most senior officials, including President Ilham Aliyev, Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Eyubov, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov and Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. Iran is expected to figure prominently in the talks.
Liberman visited Baku in 2010 and again in 2012, when the two countries celebrated 20 years of diplomatic relations.
In addition to its strategic location, Azerbaijan supplies Israel with an estimated 40 percent of its oil needs, and Israel sells Azerbaijan hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms.
Bilateral trade between the two countries was estimated last year at some $3 billion a year.
In 2012, Azerbaijan arrested 22 people on suspicion of spying for Iran. The 22, according to the Azerbaijani national security minister, were said to have received orders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to commit terrorist acts against the embassies of the US, Israel and other Western countries.
Iran has accused Azerbaijan of helping Israel assassinate nuclear scientists inside the country.
In addition to meeting the country’s leadership, Liberman is also scheduled to meet in Baku with the leadership of the country’s Jewish community.