The Republic of Azerbaijan has announced that it is to open a representative office in the State of Palestine, Wafa news agency has reported. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, the Azerbaijani parliament approved the move as a step that reflects the solidarity of the republic with Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki welcomed the decision and described it as a new victory for Palestinian diplomacy on the way towards establishing the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. He added that it will also strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Azerbaijan also decided on Friday that it will open an embassy in Tel Aviv, which was condemned by Palestinians. However, the PA's Social Development Minister, Ahmed Majdalani, told Arab News that Azerbaijan would not have taken the embassy decision without consulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, given that "Azerbaijan is a Turkish protectorate". He pointed out that he was surprised by the decision as Azerbaijan is the current chair of the Islamic summit, which has in the past been against such a move.
"Unfortunately, Azerbaijan's decision comes at a time when the Israeli right wing is taking power in Israel, so this is considered to be a reward for extremist Israelis for their attacks against the Palestinians and Islamic sanctities," he added. "We express our astonishment and condemnation of this uncalculated political step that harms the Palestinians."
Israel and Azerbaijan have had relations for 30 years and there has been an Israeli Embassy in Baku since 1993.