Neighboring Countries


Israeli dronemaker allowed to renew sales to Azerbaijan
/Feb 5/

The Israeli defense ministry has allowed Aeronautics Ltd., an aircraft manufacturer, to again sell the unmanned aerial vehicles to Azerbaijan, The Times of Israel reports.

In August 2017, reports emerged that the company was suspected of using the Orbiter 1K kamikaze drone to attack Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabakh during a demonstration for Azerbaijani officials. The Israeli defense ministry launched an investigation, but last week the Ministry said that it had decided to revoke the export licenses of the company officials.

Aeronautics announced that the export licenses of three senior officials — CEO Amos Matan, deputy CEO Meir Rizmovitch and a third, unnamed, employee — were to be suspended by the Defense Ministry beginning in April.

On Monday, the company informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the ban on sales of its Orbiter 1K kamikaze drone to its “central customer ‘A’” had ended. “The Defense Ministry announced to the company that the suspension of its license was immediately canceled. The company can continue to supply the UAV to the aforementioned customer as soon as possible,” Aeronautics wrote.

The company also said the CEO, deputy CEO and third official were indeed being removed from the company’s export license beginning on April 3.

“This temporary suspension will remain in place until a decision is made to file or not file an indictment against the employees. Once the aforementioned decision is made, the temporary suspension will be reconsidered”, Aeronautics said.

Israel’s defense ministry probed allegation according to which Azerbaijan asked Aeronautics Defense Systems to demonstrate drone on Armenian military positions.The defense ministry recently received a complaint alleging that after a team from Aeronautics Defense Systems came to Azerbaijan seeking to finalize a contract for the sale of company’s Orbiter 1K unmanned aircraft, they were asked to deploy the aircraft, armed with explosives, on a military position of the Armenian army.

The existence of the complaint was reported on August 13 by the Israeli daily paper Maariv.

The company, however, denies the allegation that its staff conducted such a mission, stating that the company “never carries out demonstrations on live targets, and that was true in this case as well”.

According to Maariv, the two Israeli operators of the craft refused to hit the Armenian position, and after remaining firm in their refusal even after the Azerbaijani threats directed against them, senior representatives of the company armed and operated the unmanned aircraft themselves. Ultimately the drones are said to have missed their targets, and no damage was caused, but according to the complaint, one of them struck at a distance of about 100 meters (330 feet) from the position.

Armenia to raise issue of Israel’s supply of military UAVs to Azerbaijan
/Feb 5/

YEREVAN- The Armenian foreign ministry is planning to raise the issue of Israel’s UAV supply to Azerbaijan in different bilateral and multilateral platforms, foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan told a news conference today.

“The regional arms race issue has always been on our agenda, and we have and will continue raising about this issue, both during bilateral meetings and in multilateral arenas. This issue will be no exception,” she said.

According to her, international partners must be reminded that arms race in our region is highly dangerous.

The Israeli Defense Ministry has reinstated the export license of Aeronautics Ltd. – a defense company suspected of testing one of its suicide drones against the Armenian military for Azerbaijan in violation of Israeli law, allowing it to once again sell the unmanned ‘suicide’ aircraft. The incident took place when the company officials were in Azerbaijan to finalize a contract for the sale of its Orbiter 1K UAV when they were asked to strike the Armenian military position in 2017.

The statue of a Karabakh war hero – a topic of discussion at Georgian parliament
/Feb 6/Panorama/

The erection of a statue to Karabakh war hero Michael Avagyan in Bugashen village of Georgia’s Armenian-populated Samtskhe-Javakheti region was a topic of debate at the first session of the Georgian parliament.

The statue is of a native to the region – Mikhael Avagyan, who died during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, was solemnly opened on January 20 in his native village. The ceremony was attended by the Armenian Ambassador Ruben Sadoyan, the head of the district administration, the local government as well as members of the Georgian parliaments of Armenian origin.

This has caused outrage on social media and a strong reaction from Azerbaijan, that even summoned the Georgian Ambassador in Baku.

As Jnews reports, MP Azer Suleymanov from the “Unified National Movement” has questioned the Speaker of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze about the participation of the ruling party members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, describing it as a “deliberate provocation against Georgia” and demanding immediate removal of the statue.

“Georgia’s approach to neighboring states is clear. We respect the interests of neighboring countries and act taking into consideration those interests. We are holding consultations with our partners and will find a solution to maintain peace in our neighborhood,” Kobakhidze has noted. 

SOCAR about Start of Production from Karabakh Field
/Feb 8/Turan Information Agency, Azerbaijani Opposition Press/

Baku – Production of the first raw hydrocarbons from the Karabakh field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea is expected in 2020-2021, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said.

“There are great expectations about the oil and gas reserves in the Karabakh field. At present, the construction of a marine base for mining and drilling at this field is underway. The construction of the marine support block has already been completed by 60%. The primary engineering of the project is also being completed, the head of SOCAR said in an interview with the AzerTaj state agency.

He also said that at present, preparations are underway for drilling an exploratory well in the prospective Aypara structure in the Caspian Sea.

Earlier, Abdullayev said the Norwegian company Equinor will start drilling the first exploratory well in the Karabakh field in the second half of 2019.

The drilling will be carried out using the Dede Gorgud semi-submersible floating drilling rig.

On May 31, 2018, SOCAR and Equinor signed in Baku a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) for exploration and development of the block of prospective structures of Dan-Ulduzu-Ashrafi-Aypara and a Risk Service Contract for the development of the Karabakh field. For the implementation of the projects, SOCAR and Equinor created an operating company on a parity basis (50% to 50%).

The agreements were ratified by the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan on June 29, and entered into force on July 5.

The Karabakh field, with recoverable reserves estimated at 16 million tons of oil and 28 bcm of gas, is located 130 km east of Baku. The depth of the sea in the area is 180 meters.