Famous Italian singer asks to be removed from ‘persona non grata’ list

8 November 2013 12:36 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Rajabova

Baku will study famous Italian singer Al Bano's appeal to remove his name from the list of 'persona non grata', Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman told Trend news agency on November 7.

Famous Italian singer Al Bano was included in the list of undesirable individuals by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry for his illegal visit to the territories occupied by Armenia.

Foreign ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev said Al Bano addressed the Azerbaijani embassy in Italy requesting removal of his name from this list.

Abdullayev said that Azerbaijan will consider his appeal.

Earlier, four foreign citizens blacklisted by Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry for illegally visiting the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia were removed from the list.

They pointed out in their appeals to Baku that they had been taken to Azerbaijan's occupied territories by deception.

Unauthorized visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia are deemed illegal and individuals paying such visits are included in the 'black list' of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry recently released a list of 335 people declared 'persona non grata' over illegal visits to the Armenian-occupied territories.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly warned foreign officials and diplomats about visits to its territories occupied by Armenia, saying this contradicts international law. The Foreign Ministry has stated that such visits, paid without prior notification of the relevant authorities of Azerbaijan, are illegal and damage the settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. Armenia continues the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal.