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Armenia Pulls Out From Eurovision Contest in Arch-Foe Azerbaijan

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- Armenia withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s most-watched singing competition, that’s scheduled to be held in May in Baku, the capital of arch-foe Azerbaijan, the organizers said.

“Despite the efforts of the European Broadcasting Union and the host broadcaster to ensure a smooth participation for the Armenian delegation in this year’s contest, circumstances beyond our control led to this unfortunate decision,” Jan Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the competition, said on the official Eurovision website today.

The Caspian Sea nation gained the right to host the event by winning first place at the festival in Dusseldorf last year. Oil-rich Azerbaijan fought a war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority Armenian-populated enclave that broke free from Baku’s control following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The territory remains a potential flash point in a region where Russia fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008 after separatist tensions flared up over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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