Israel, Azerbaijan, tight-lipped on rumored reconnaissance deal

Ilham Aliyev

Ilham Aliyev

The Israeli and Azerbaijani governments are apparently keeping quiet about rumored plans to jointly manufacture unmanned drone aircraft and spy satellites. Representatives of Israel’s reconnaissance and aeronautics industry were among dozens of Israeli business leaders who joined last June’s state visit to Azerbaijan by Isarel’s President Shimon Peres. It was the first-ever visit to the Caspian Sea state by an Israeli head of state. Soon after the end of the visit, there were rumors in the Israeli press that Tel Aviv had managed to convince Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, after four years of negotiations, to approve the construction of a manufacturing plant in Azerbaijan that will construct unmanned drone surveillance aircraft. Moreover, Israel was said to have agreed to help Azerbaijan construct a TecSAR all-weather satellite reconnaissance system. Azerbaijan, which borders with Russia, Iran, Armenia and Georgia, is one of the few predominantly Muslim countries that maintain bilateral relations with Israel.

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