Rivlin speaks with Armenian president, hopes ambassador will return soon

The president expressed regret over the outbreak of violence in the region and the victims on both sides.

President Reuven Rivlin with the President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian (photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin with the President of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian
(photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin urged Armenia to return its ambassador to Israel when he spoke Monday with his Armenian counterpart Armen Sarkissian.
“We welcome the opening of the Armenian embassy in Israel and hope that the Armenian ambassador will return soon,” Rivlin said.
Last week Armenia recalled its Ambassador to Israel, Armen Smbatyan, for consultations to protest the sale of weapons by Israeli companies to Azerbaijan. Some of those weapons, such as drones, have been used in the recent outbreak of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Israel has strong ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan dating back to the early 1990s. It has refrained from getting involved in the conflict. It has, however, not stopped the sale of weapons to Azerbaijan, which as a country is the largest single supplier of oil to Israel, amounting to 40% of Israel’s oil supply.
The call between Rivlin and Sarkissian came at the request of the Armenian president. But the statement put out by Rivlin’s office marks the first high level statement by an Israeli top leader since the renewal of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 27.
Rivlin’s office said the call focused on the promotion of relations between the two countries, but that he also spoke of Israel’s support for both countries.
“President Rivlin expressed his sorrow at the outbreak of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and at the loss of life on both sides. He added that the State of Israel has long-standing relations with Azerbaijan and that the cooperation between the two countries is not aimed against any side,” Rivlin’s office said.
“The president also noted that the State of Israel is interested in promoting relations with Armenia and is prepared to offer humanitarian aid,” Rivlin’s office added.
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to the US, Elin Suleymanov, said in response that his country “has a strong bilateral partnership with Israel, which is unrelated to any third parties.
“While Azerbaijan’s goal is to make our bilateral ties even stronger, Armenia’s motivation in trying to develop ties with Israel is clearly to disrupt our bilateral relationship,” he added.
“As a result of irresponsible, protracted occupation of Azerbaijani lands, Armenia today is not self-sufficient, externally dependent and is more of a burden to its friends, allies, and a source of regional instability,” Suleymanov said.
He added he was grateful to Rivlin for his support of Azerbaijan. Rivlin “was one of the very rare world leaders speaking from the United Nations General Assembly tribune about the Khojaly massacre of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian military,” Suleymanov said.