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Israel to supply Azerbaijan with satellites in $120 million deal

Commenting on his recent visit to Uzbekistan, Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Baku will purchase two satellites from the Israel Aerospace Industries.
ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen confirmed on Monday that Israel Aerospace Industries will supply Azerbaijan with two satellites at a total cost of $120 million.

Cohen confirmed the purchase deal in an interview with the Times of Israel, commenting on his visits last week to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. “We were told by the Azeris that they had chosen an Israeli company to make a deal to purchase satellites, but I have to say that the more significant agreement is for the sale of water desalination facilities. Beyond that, the visit in Baku was mostly meant to show appreciation for them opening an embassy in Israel after a 30-year relationship,” noted Cohen. 

The Azeri space agency Azercosmos operates two communication satellite and one observation satellite. Last week, Azercosmos reported it had lost contact with its Azersky satellite. Azersky remains in orbit, but Azercosmos has given up on reestablishing contact with it. As such, Azercosmos announced it was launching a project for “a new, higher-resolution observation satellite project, which responds to the challenges of modern technological development in accordance with the wishes of local institutions.” 

Because of its geographical closeness to Iran, Israel considers Azerbaijan an important strategic ally in the region. Cohen’s visit there was aimed at strengthening security ties with Baku, as well as developing economic and tourism relations. Then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz had visited Azerbaijan last October. 

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