Fruitfully developing Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are well reflected in the economic sphere, and Mikayil Jabbarov, minister of economy and co-chairman of the Azerbaijani-Israeli intergovernmental commission, is conducting this work from the Azerbaijani side.

He heads the Israel-Azerbaijan intergovernmental committee in cooperation with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and the co-chairs will meet online next week.

The global coronavirus crisis, which has greatly affected the global economy, has had an impact on bilateral economic relations. The parties intend to again increase the trade between the two countries in all areas, which amounted to a record $1.4 billion in 2019.

In an interview with Israel Hayom from his bureau office in Baku, Jabbarov talks about intergovernmental relations, economic ties between the countries, opportunities for further improvement and strengthening of bilateral cooperation and his attitude towards the State of Israel, Report informs.

“Israel remains Azerbaijan’s third-largest export destination,” he said. “It’s no secret that the oil and gas fields are taking a central place in bilateral trade, but I want it to expand even more.”

– In what fields are you interested in expanding trade?

– Tourism, agriculture, and agrotech in particular. I would also like for us to cooperate in the fields of cyberdefense, education, water resources, and health. Officials in Baku have decided to establish an Azerbaijani tourism bureau in Israel.

We’re interested in renewing the activity of the forum for bilateral economic cooperation that was established in 2019 and quickly had a positive impact. The opening of a tourism bureau in Israel would send an important message. Likewise, in the field of technology, we’re interested in further improving ties with Israel.”

– How do you intend to expand trade?

– We can often give businesses a push, but that’s harder to do without removing red tape. In the private sector, ties are quickly growing stronger. Likewise, we even hope to open a trade bureau in Israel next year.”

– How often are you in touch with Israeli government ministries?

– We hold frequent talks on the professional level, and we have very good ties. Our collaboration with the Israeli Embassy in Baku is excellent. We also maintain ties with various ministries in Israel.”

– How do you explain Azerbaijan’s special bond with the Jewish community?

– We have lived together for hundreds of years, and Azerbaijan’s values are built on respect for every religion and every ethnic group. The secret is simple: We believe every ethnic group living in Azerbaijan is part of our society. This is a relationship that is based on a history in which we lived together, a culture of not harming one another, respecting one another, having fun together, and dealing with crises, celebrating religious holidays, fighting side by side, without exception.

Azerbaijan is a relatively young country, but we have a long history. [Azerbaijani] President Ilham Aliyev really looks out for the Jewish community, just as he looks out for all the minority groups in the country.

Azerbaijan is set to mark 30 years to its independence and 30 years to its Israel ties next year.

My job is to always aspire to improve ties, and that is what I will do in this special year. We will do everything to open an Azerbaijani trade bureau in Israel and further deepen ties.

– What do you think about the State of Israel?