Armenia announces it will open embassy in Israel

Armenia announced on Thursday that it intends to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, a move expected to bring the once cool ties between the two countries to a different level.

“Israel is an important player in the Middle East,” Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was quoted as saying in a cabinet meeting. “The opening of the embassy will contribute to the deepening of bilateral relations and protection of Armenia’s interests in the region.”

According to the cabinet decision, the move will also strengthen the Armenian Apostolic Church’s presence in the country. The new embassy is expected to open by the beginning of next year.

Mnatsakanyan said that Armenia would welcome a reciprocal move by Israel, and that “this is on the agenda of our dialogue.” Israel gave no indication, however, that it was considering opening an embassy in Yerevan.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised Armenia’s decision, saying that it is a “significant step in the development of bilateral relations” between the two states.