Azerbaijan will continue to build on the strategic relationship with Israel despite opposition "from some of its neighbors," an Azeri parliamentarian said during a meeting at the Netanya Academic College on Monday, a few days after a $1.6 billion dollar defense deal between the two countries was confirmed by Israeli officials. Speaking at the Center for Strategic Dialogue at the Netanya college, Azeri MP Ganira Pashayera said there is room for strategic cooperation based on the interests of both her country and Israel, especially in security and economic matters. Israeli officials confirmed on Sunday a deal to sell defense equipment to Azerbaijan to the tune of $1.6 billion.According to the officials, Israeli Aerospace Industries will supply the formerly soviet country with unmanned aerial vehicles and missile defense systems."Israel is perceived as a strategic nation in Baku," Pashayera said.Azeri officials have said that the defense deal with Israel is not aimed at neighboring Iran, which has historically had warm relations with the Eurasian country. Azerbaijan has also dismissed criticism of the deal by Armenia, which Azerbaijan accuses of illegally occupying Azeri lands.
John Backtane contributed to this report