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October 26, 2016 2:29 pm

Report: Netanyahu to Visit Muslim-Majority Azerbaijan in December

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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The Azerbaijani capital of Baku. Photo: Okinawa via Wikimedia Commons.

The Azerbaijani capital of Baku. Photo: Okinawa via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Azerbaijan in December, a local news site reported last week, citing an anonymous Israeli diplomatic source.

The Azeri Trend report said that Netanyahu will meet with leaders of the Muslim-majority country during his trip.

This echoes a Times of Israel report in July that Netanyahu was considering such a trip to both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

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Israel has developed close ties with Azerbaijan during the two and a half decades since it gained its independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

In August 1997, Netanyahu — who was serving his first term as prime minister — visited the Azerbaijani capital of Baku and met with then-President Heydar Aliyev, who died in 2003. Aliyev’s son, Ilham, is the current president of Azerbaijan.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis visited Azerbaijan and met with the head of the country’s Jewish community, which is said to number around 15,000.

Azerbaijan — which borders Iran — is situated next to the Caspian Sea in the Transcaucasia region, the meeting point of southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe.

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