Israel’s Peres on trip to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan

Israel's Peres on trip to Azerbaijan, KazakhstanJune 28. AFP. JERUSALEM

Israeli President Shimon Peres was to begin a landmark visit to the former Soviet states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan aimed at advancing strategic and economic ties, his office said.

During his four-day state visit to the two predominantly Muslim states, Peres will hold talks with Azeri and Kazakh leaders. He also plans to address hundreds of representatives from Muslim and Arab countries at an interfaith conference in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The 85-year-old president will travel with a delegation of more than 60 representatives of government ministries and private companies seeking to tighten trade and economic ties with the two central Asian states.

“The president’s visit is aimed at strengthening and expanding Israel’s strategic, diplomatic and economic ties with the two Muslim states that sit on the crossroads between Russia, China and Iran,” his office said in a statement.

Israel and Kazakhstan, which forged diplomatic ties in 1992, today share tight economic and military ties after Astana asked the Jewish state to help it modernise its military and produce weapons.

Israel has also signed several million dollars worth of arms deals with Azerbaijan.