Israel, Azerbaijan Sign Military and Security Deal

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with Azeri delegation (Israeli Defense Ministry)
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with Azeri delegation (Israeli Defense Ministry)
TT

Israel, Azerbaijan Sign Military and Security Deal

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with Azeri delegation (Israeli Defense Ministry)
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz meeting with Azeri delegation (Israeli Defense Ministry)

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed he completed an unannounced visit to Azerbaijan, during which he met senior Azeri officials and signed several cooperation agreements in the military and security fields.

Gantz's spokesman said the visit occurred on Monday, and a high-ranking delegation accompanied him.

According to a defense source who was part of the delegation, Gantz was asked about the Palestinian situation and rejected all proposals to invade the West Bank in response to Palestinian operations.

He also rejected the idea attributed to Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi to send drones to assassinate armed Palestinian youths in Jenin.

Gantz sought calm with the Palestinians and was open about having direct relations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, pointing out that they meet and try together to find realistic solutions to break the stalemate in the political situation.

He added that at the same time, the minister stated that he fights the Palestinians when they send “shooters and terrorists” to kill Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Gantz went on to underline the importance of maintaining strategic relations between the State of Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan and reflecting on the changes that have taken place in the Middle East region after the signing of the Abraham Accords.

The spokesman also noted that senior officials discussed the development of Israel's ties with Turkey and other countries in the region and the world.

Gantz took advantage of his presence in a country neighboring Iran and told Israel Hayom's military correspondent, Yoav Limor, that Tel Aviv could respond to any development in Iran.

He added that the nuclear deal is not advancing but not terminated yet, asserting Israel's opposition to the agreement.

A senior source who accompanied Gantz said that Israel has good relations with Azerbaijan, as it is an essential Islamic country neighboring Iran and, like Israel, faces many hostile schemes from the leaders of the Tehran regime.

The source noted that Israel and Azerbaijan must coordinate to confront these schemes together, noting that the meetings revealed the two sides share the same vision towards many regional issues.

During the visit, Gantz also met with the Chief of the State Border Service, Colonel General Elchin Guliyev, and visited a State Border Service headquarters.

Last April, Israel's Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Azerbaijan and was received by President Ilham Aliyev.

Lieberman also met Ministers of Finance and Economy and concluded agreements to expand economic relations, especially in oil import.

Azerbaijan pledged to supply Israel with oil if the global energy crisis was exacerbated due to the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia following the war in Ukraine.

In turn, Israel vowed to provide Azerbaijan with the experts and knowledge it needs to develop wheat cultivation, which is also witnessing a global shortage because of the war.



G7 Leaders Focus on Ukraine War, China in Italian Summit

Italian Carabinieri, paramilitary policemen, patrol at a roadblock near Borgo Egnazia, venue of the G7 summit in southern Italy, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Italian Carabinieri, paramilitary policemen, patrol at a roadblock near Borgo Egnazia, venue of the G7 summit in southern Italy, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
TT

G7 Leaders Focus on Ukraine War, China in Italian Summit

Italian Carabinieri, paramilitary policemen, patrol at a roadblock near Borgo Egnazia, venue of the G7 summit in southern Italy, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Italian Carabinieri, paramilitary policemen, patrol at a roadblock near Borgo Egnazia, venue of the G7 summit in southern Italy, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Group of Seven (G7) leaders start their annual summit on Thursday looking to double down on support for Ukraine in its war with Russia and offer a united face in confronting China's political and economic ambitions.
With the Middle East, migration and artificial intelligence (AI) also on a packed agenda, the June 13-15 summit in southern Italy would be taxing for leaders at the best of times, but most of them are also bowed down by their own domestic woes, said Reuters.
US President Joe Biden, facing a tough re-election bid in November, arrived in Italy the day after his son Hunter Biden was convicted of lying about his drug use to illegally buy a gun.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appears destined to lose power in a July 4 election, the leaders of France and Germany are reeling from political defeats, and opinion polls are bleak for the prime ministers of Canada and Japan.
Only the host, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, is riding high after triumphing in Italy's European election last weekend, but achieving meaningful results in the luxury Borgo Egnazia hotel resort will be a tall order.
Determined to claim the initiative, the G7 leaders look likely to announce they have agreed on plans to issue $50 billion of loans for Ukraine using interest from frozen Russian assets to back the multi-year debt package.
However officials acknowledge the plan is complex, meaning any deal will only be in principle, with legal experts still having to thrash out the details that will need the backing of European nations, particularly Belgium, which is not in the G7.
For a second year running, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will attend the summit and is due to sign a new, long-term security accord with Biden.
"By signing this we'll also be sending Russia a signal of our resolve. If (Russian President) Vladimir Putin thinks he can outlast the coalition supporting Ukraine, he's wrong," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.
CONFRONTING CHINA
Underscoring US determination to punish Moscow for its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Washington on Wednesday dramatically broadened sanctions on Moscow, including by targeting China-based companies selling semiconductors to Moscow.
By announcing new restrictions on Chinese firms on the eve of the G7 meeting, Biden is no doubt hoping to persuade Western allies to show greater resolve in confronting Beijing over its support for Russia and its industrial over-capacity.
The European Commission told automakers on Wednesday it would impose extra duties of up to 38.1% on imported Chinese electric cars from July, less than a month after Washington quadrupled duties for Chinese EVs to 100%.
While G7 leaders are expected to express concern over high Chinese production levels, which they say disrupt global supply chains and market stability, EU diplomats warn that Europe is anxious to avoid a full-blown trade war with Beijing.
The G7 has thrown open its doors to a large number of outsiders this year, including Pope Francis, who is expected to give a keynote speech on Friday on both the risks and potential of AI.
Among those who have also been invited to Puglia are the leaders of India, Brazil, Argentina, Türkiye, Algeria and Kenya.
Although the summit is scheduled to run until Saturday, many G7 chiefs will leave on Friday night, including Biden, meaning the final day has been earmarked for bilateral meetings for those staying on and a final news conference from Meloni.