YEREVAN — Armenia said on Thursday that it is recalling its ambassador to Israel in protest against continuing supplies of Israeli weapons to Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalyan, said Israel did not halt the supplies even after the September 27 outbreak of large-scale hostilities around Nagorno-Karabakh that have prompted serious concern from the international community.
“The Israeli side is continuing arms supplies to Azerbaijan and this is unacceptable to us,” Naghdalyan told journalists. “Based on the current situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to recall Armenia’s ambassador to Israel for consultations.”
The move came just two weeks after the Armenian Embassy in Tel Aviv was inaugurated by Ambassador Armen Smbatyan in the presence of a senior official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The Armenian government had decided to open the mission in September 2019 in hopes of improving Armenia’s relations with Israel.
Those relations have long been frosty, reflecting differing geopolitical priorities of the two states. Also, Yerevan has for years expressed concern over billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons, including sophisticated drones and missiles, which Israeli defense companies have sold, with the Israeli government’s blessing, to Azerbaijan over the past decade.
The Armenian military says that Azerbaijani forces are heavily using Israeli-made attack drones in the ongoing military operations in Karabakh including civilian targets.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has released purported footage of attacks on Karabakh Armenian frontline positions carried out with such weapons. Karabakh authorities say they have also struck civilian infrastructure in Stepanakert and other Karabakh towns and villages.
Reports from Israel have said that in the past last few days Azerbaijani transport planes carried out several flights between Baku and a remote Israeli airfield. Observers have speculated that they delivered more Israeli weapons to Azerbaijan.