YEREVAN — Armenia has sent its ambassador back to Israel in an apparent effort to mend bilateral relations that soured during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ambassador Arman Hakobyan handed his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Thursday 18 months after his predecessor, Armen Smbatyan, was recalled by the Armenian government in protest against continuing Israeli arms supplies to Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said at the time that the Jewish state did not halt those deliveries even after Azerbaijan launched a full-scale offensive in and around Karabakh on September 27, 2020.
Smbatyan was recalled to Yerevan in October 1, 2020 just two weeks after inaugurating the Armenian Embassy in Tel Aviv. The envoy was subsequently sacked by the Armenian government after being indicted in a corruption investigation.
Hakobyan was appointed as Armenia’s new ambassador to Israel in December 2021 one month after a phone call between Foreign Minister Mirzoyan and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid. The two ministers discussed Armenian-Israeli relations and “prospects for their promotion,” according to the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan.
Reports from Israel said that during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war Azerbaijani transport planes frequently carried out flights between Baku and Israeli airfields. Observers suggested that they delivered more weapons to Azerbaijan.
According to the Armenian military, Azerbaijani forces heavily used Israeli-made attack drones and multiple-launch rocket systems throughout the six-week hostilities stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020.
In an October 2020 report, Human Rights Watch said that the Azerbaijani army used Israeli cluster munitions in the shelling of Karabakh’s civilian areas. The U.S. watchdog said its researchers identified the remnants of these widely banned weapons in the Karabakh capital Stepanakert and the town of Hadrut.
“Azerbaijan received these surface-to-surface rockets and launchers from Israel in 2008–2009,” added the report.