Explaining the move on October 1, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Israel did not halt these sales even after the September 27 outbreak of large-scale hostilities around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Ambassador Armen Smbatian was recalled to Yerevan just two weeks after inaugurating the Armenian Embassy in Tel Aviv in the presence of a senior official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
“We welcome the opening of the Armenian Embassy in Israel and hope that the Armenian ambassador will return soon,” Rivlin said in a phone call with Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian.
According to his office, Rivlin also “expressed sorrow” at the hostilities in Karabakh and the resulting casualties. “He added that the State of Israel has long-standing relations with Azerbaijan and that the cooperation between the two countries is not aimed against any side,” the office said in a statement cited by The Jerusalem Post newspaper.
For his part, Sarkissian condemned the Israeli arms supplies, warning that they “could seriously undermine the Armenian-Israeli relations.”
“President Sarkissian noted that arms and equipment sold by Israel to Azerbaijan is used not only for defense, as the Israeli side assured in the past, but also for offensives,” read a statement released by the Armenian presidential press service. “This weaponry is used actively to bomb the Armenian settlements and civilian population, causing multiple loss of life and massive destruction.”
“He urged the president of Israel to use his authority with the [Israeli] government to stop the supplies of arms to Azerbaijan immediately,” added the statement.
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, to Azerbaijan over the past decade.
The Armenian military says that Azerbaijani forces are heavily using Israeli-made attack drones and multiple-launch rocket systems in the ongoing military operations in Karabakh.
Reports from Israel have said that over the past week Azerbaijani transport planes carried out several flights between Baku and Israeli airfields. Observers have suggested that they delivered more weapons to Azerbaijan.
Ambassador Smbatian claimed on Monday that Israel may agree to stop these deliveries “in two or three days.” “I have received such a verbal promise at the government level,” he told Factor.am.
“In various ways we are trying to get them to stop supplying weapons [to Azerbaijan] at least during this war situation,” said Smbatian.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment on Smbatian’s remarks. The Israeli Walla news service also quoted a spokesman for the ministry as saying that it does not deal with arms exports.