´Reports Baku gave Israel airfields are fiction´ (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON 04/24/12)
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, currently visiting Azerbaijan,
dismissed reports that Israel had obtained air bases there to assist
in an attack on Iran as “science fiction” and a “James Bond story.”
“Such reports are from the sphere of science fiction and do not
correspond with the truth,” he told reporters in Baku.
Foreign Policy magazine ran an article last month claiming that
Israel had gained access to Azerbaijan airfields to facilitate a
possible attack on Iran.
“The Israelis have bought an airfield,” the report quoted an unnamed
US official as saying, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”
“People with a very rich imagination publish such stories,” Liberman
said after meeting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
While saying he did discuss Iran with Aliyev, Liberman provided no
details about those talks.
Before going into that meeting, Liberman told Israel Radio that some
journalists see too many James Bond movies, and that often there
is “no connection between stories and reality.” That, he said, was
the case regarding the reports about Israeli access to Azeri
The foreign minister acknowledged that Israel and Azerbaijan – which
is strategically located on Iran’s northern border – have good,
stable relations, and he described it as an “important country which
is now a member of the UN Security Council.”
“Relations with Azerbaijan could not be better. They are trusting and
productive,” he said.
The Vestnik Kavkaza website, which covers the Caucasus, reported that
Liberman also discussed Iran with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar
Relations between Azerbaijan and Iran have been tense in recent
Iran has accused Azerbaijan of assisting Israeli intelligence in
allegedly killing Iranian nuclear scientists. And last month,
Azerbaijani security forces arrested several Azeris and Iranians on
suspicion of spying for Iran, plotting to attack Western targets and
smuggling arms from Iran into Azerbaijan.
According to the website of the Azerbaijan Business Center, Liberman
and Mammadyarov also discussed deepening the countries’ cooperation
within international organizations.
This is significant as far as Israel is concerned because of
Azerbaijan’s two-year temporary membership on the UN Security Council.
In addition to diplomatic meetings, Liberman visited the Center for
Studies of Israel and the Middle East at the Azerbaijan University
for Foreign Languages.
The two countries have a flourishing trade relationship, with a $4
billion turnover last year. Israel imports about a third of its oil
from Azerbaijan, and Baku – according to foreign reports – recently
inked a $1.6 billion arms deal with Jerusalem. Reuters contributed to
this report. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/24/12)
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