BERLIN — Azerbaijan has refused to allow German lawmaker Albert Weiler to accompany Chancellor Angela Merkel on her upcoming trip to Azerbaijan because he visited Nagorno-Karabakh Republic without Baku’s “permission”.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on August 21 that the “position of the Azerbaijani authorities does not contribute to the dialogue around the Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmat Haciyev said the same day in Baku that Weiler’s name had been included on the list of individuals whose presence in Azerbaijan is undesirable since he took unsanctioned trips to “Azerbaijan’s temporarily occupied territories in 2014 and 2016.”
Azerbaijani had offered the MP to officially apologize in order not to be included in the “black list”. But Albert Weiler refused to do so, explaining that he continues to hold the opinion that as the Vice chairman of Germany-South Caucasus friendship group it’s his mission to get acquainted to the situation in the region and therefore, it’s necessary to personally visit Nagorno Karabakh and talk to the locals.
Weiler was expected to accompany Merkel in her South Caucasus tour scheduled for August 23-25.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.