Zvi Zilber: Investigation against Israeli dronemaker could be linked to foreign policy issues

Launching of the criminal investigation against the Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. could be linked to foreign policy issues, says Zvi Zilber, editor at the Voice of Israel radio station.

“I cannot be confident, but rumors say the Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian’s recent visit to Israel could have played a role here,” Mr. Zilber said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

“Most details of this investigation have not yet been published as court has approved a gag order for the case, but what we know is that law enforcers visited the Aeronautics head office and seized certain documents,” he added.

The comments come in the wake of the announcement by the Israeli Police on criminal investigation against an Israeli drone manufacturer that allegedly attempted to bomb the Armenian military on behalf of Azerbaijan during a demonstration of one of unmanned aerial vehicles earlier this year.

“Aeronautics said in a statement it would fully cooperate with any examination on any issue and would work to the best of its capabilities so the investigation will be as swift as possible,” Mr. Zilber said.

According to him, although it has not been announced that the investigation is linked to Azerbaijan, one can assume that, because in the official statement the Police refers to a “deal with a significant customer.”

Besides, he reminded that in late August, the Defense Ministry Defense Export Controls Agency halted Aeronautics’ export license for its Orbiter 1K model UAV to Azerbaijan.

“What’s taking place within the framework of the current investigation is not yet clear. What’s clear is that we deal with certain political developments,” Zvi Zilber added.

He hopes details of the case will be revealed after the gag rule is called off. “However, judging from what we have, this has to do with political relations between Azerbaijan, Iran, Israel and Armenia,” he stated.

As for Armenian-Israeli ties, the expert said “it’s quite obvious that the relations are developing, and the frequent visits are a testament to that.”

“The recent visit of the Armenian Foreign Minister and the dialogue launched within that framework, the numerous attempts to have the Armenian Genocide recognized by the Israeli Parliament are a clear demonstration of development of relations,” Zvi Zilber stated.

He believes that the “wise things” Edward Nalbandian was talking about in Israel will contribute to the development of dialogue between countries and nations and hopes the ties will keep reinforcing.

The Armenian Foreign Minister visited Israel last week. Minister Nalbandian summed up the results of the visit in an interview with the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Israel.

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