Armenia has officially withdrawn from the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest that is due to be held in Azerbaijan on May 22-26, following the killing of an Armenian border guard, allegedly by an Azerbaijani sniper, the contest’s organizers said on the Eurovision web site on Wednesday.
“We are truly disappointed by the broadcaster's decision to withdraw from this year's Eurovision Song Contest," said the Contest Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). "Despite the efforts of the EBU and the Host Broadcaster to ensure smooth participation for Armenian delegation in this year's Contest, circumstances beyond our control lead to this unfortunate decision."
In late February a group of more than 20 Armenian singers said they would boycott the song contest in Azerbaijan after the country’s Defense Ministry said that the Armenian soldier, Albert Adibekyan, who served at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, was killed by an Azerbaijani sniper.
Adibekyan’s death triggered outrage in Armenia, which has been locked in a 24-year-long conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorny Karabakh region.
It was later determined that Adibekyan had been killed by a fellow Armenian soldier, Ignat Yengibaryan.
A total of 42 countries will participate at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in the Azeri capital, Baku.