A group of more than 20 Armenian singers have said they will boycott the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan between May 22 and 26 after an Armenian border guard was shot by an Azeri sniper while on patrol, Armenian media reported on Friday.
“We declare that we refuse to take part in the Eurovision contest in Baku,” the singers said in a joint statement, filed to the European Broadcasting Union late on Thursday.
The statement came after the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the Armenian soldier, Albert Adibekyan, who served at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, was killed by an Azeri sniper.
Armenia already filed an application to take part in the Eurovision, however, this does not mean that the country will take part, the head of the Armenian singers’ delegation, Goar Gasparyan said.
Gasparyan also added that Azerbaijan has yet to provide security guarantees for Armenian singers.
Adibekyan’s death triggered outrage from Armenia amid the ongoing 24-year long conflict between the two Caucasus states for the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region.
Karabakh has remained under Armenian control since the late 1980s, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia. The conflict is estimated to have left more than 30,000 people dead on both sides between 1988 and 1994.
Russia has been mediating peace talks for nearly two decades.