Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan has described Azerbaijan’s refusal to grant visas to Arsenal’s fans who may have Armenian roots as racism.
Addressing a press briefing on Tuesday, May 21, Naghdalyan said should Azerbaijan provide all the necessary security guarantees to both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his teammates, the Armenian Foreign Ministry will not mind the Armenian midfielder’s participation in the Europa League final in Baku.
Mkhitaryan is the captain of Armenia’s national team, and Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) are involved in long dispute.
“We would welcome if Azerbaijan stuck to the principle it was talking about days earlier, i.e. sports are beyond politics,” Naghdalyan said.
“Azerbaijan’s failure to ensure security guarantees and denying visas to purported Armenians is nothing short of racism.”
The spokesperson added that such moves call into doubt the decisions to hold international events in Azerbaijan.
“This match was an opportunity for Azerbaijan to show to what extent Baku was ready to work towards preparing peoples for peace,” Naghdalyan said.
“However, we witnessed new manifestations of racism. This circumstance will certainly be raised to our international partners.”