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Ameriabank Receives Two IFC Awards for Achievements in Trade-Finance Sector

Syrian Parliament recognizes Armenian Genocide

Macron congratulates Turkish historian for “denouncing Armenian Genocide denial”

Vartine Ohanian Becomes First Female Armenian Minister in Lebanon’s History

Azerbaijani singer refuses to share stage with Armenian opera singer at Dresden Opera Ball

The US Embassy in Armenia donated firefighting equipment to the Ministry of Emergency Situations

Nikol Pashinyan welcomes Presidents of Iran and US from the peak of Artanish (2461m)

Information that Pashinyan has congratulated the Tramp on the military operation in Baghdad is FAKE

Cool music, a lot of new cocktails, and tangerine. New Year in Jean Paul

Պետական ​​կրթաթոշակ ՝ Սիլիկոնյան հովտում սովորելու համար

SAS Group’s holiday surprise for Orran children

Senator Menendez cried out in thanksgiving for the Genocide Resolution

US Senate recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Weightlifting Championship in Israel. Armenian-Turkish scandal

Artsakh people's security not subject to compromise. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan

PM's wife made a post on FB page inviting Aliyeva to Artsakh and insisting her invitation is serious

The dream of listening to Mugham will remain unfulfilled. Anna Hakobyan invites Mehriban. . .

€ 23 million for consulting and € 10 million for the private sector

Indian media: Gangster named Budda deported from Armenia

AI powered websites just in few minutes? - Now it’s reality.

Pashinyan Explains to Azerbaijani Journalist Why He Said "Artsakh is Armenia and End"

Two Armenian Catholic priests shot dead by terrorists in Syria

Azerbaijan Man Arrested For Listening To Armenian Music

House overwhelmingly approves resolution recognizing Armenian genocide

This is a vote I've been waiting for for 19 years. Adam Schiff was touched during the talk

Ararat Mirzoyan's speech at the PACE European Conference of Speakers of Parliaments

Speech by Anna Hakobyan at the "Education for All" conference

Tigran Avinyan: the campaign against Amulsar was organized and financed

Aurora Prize Laureates had lunch with children of Orran and UWC Dilijan students

Aurora has become our Nobel Peace Prize. Nikol Pashinyan

Yerevan is older than Rome: Armenian pilot tells passengers of airplane flying to Italy

Armenian lavash on CNN’s list of World’s best breads

Irish Ryanair announces flights from Armenia from 2020

President Sargsyan received the participants of the AGBU "The Stone" program

10 million trees will be planted in Armenia on the 10/10 of 2020. Nikol Pashinyan

Speech by Ararat Mirzoyan at the 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Yerevan included in Booking.com’s Top 10 Trending Destinations for 2020

Cher reminds of Armenian Genocide amid Turkey’s Syria assault

Kim Kardashian Baptized in Armenia's Etchmiadzin: Christian Name Heghine

Kim and Kourtney Kardashian visit Armenian President Armen Sarkissian for dinner at the palace․DailyMail

Dudelange vs Qarabag suspended after drone carrying Nagorno-Karabakh flag flies over pitch

Pashinyan meets Putin

Armenian, Singapore PMs discuss broad range of issues on bilateral relations

Nikol Pashinyan's speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly

Armenia’s PM Nikol Pashinyan attends reception hosted by Donald Trump

Netanyahu reminds Erdogan of awful massacre of the Armenian people

Film on Armenia’s Velvet Revolution takes runner-up award at Toronto Festival

Mkhitaryan's debut goal at Roma

Top 5 of Project LA songs by views on Youtube channel during the last 30 days

Kim Kardashian West to Visit Armenia and Participate in WCIT 2019

Delighted to Report That Azeri Officials Read My Columns and Follow My Advice

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier


Back in August 2013 I wrote a column headlined: “Baku’s Blacklist of Artsakh Visitors Helps Armenia, Hurts Azerbaijan,” explaining the foolishness of Azeri officials blacklisting anyone who visits Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh) without Azerbaijan’s permission. I stressed that blacklisting visitors to Artsakh from around the world was a disservice to the interests of Azerbaijan in the first place, because the blacklist isolated Azerbaijan from the rest of the world! In fact, the larger the number of blacklisted people -- many of them prominent individuals and high-ranking officials -- the more Azerbaijan deprives itself of such important visitors.

In my 2013 column, after quoting several famous individuals who ridiculed being blacklisted by Azerbaijan, I suggested that my name be also added to the blacklist since I had gone to Artsakh and written a column about my visit. Amazingly, shortly after my suggestion, the government of Azerbaijan added my name to the blacklist: “Harut Sassounian, Syrian-American journalist of Armenian descent.” Since then, I visited Artsakh again!

I must add that many years ago, while Papa Aliyev was the President of Azerbaijan, he invited me through intermediaries to Baku to meet with him and discuss the Nagorno Karabagh conflict. Of course, I declined the invitation. I even turned down Pres. Heydar Aliyev’s offer to meet with him in a third country, such as the UK, if I did not want to come to Azerbaijan. I turned down that suggestion too. So, now that I am on the black list, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry has deprived their President of the ability to invite me to Baku!

There are more than 700 names on the Azeri blacklist, including parliament members, businessmen, journalists, entertainers, elected officials and other celebrities. The latest visitor to Artsakh to be blacklisted is Anthony Bourdain, who is the host of a world famous CNN food show. Last week, he went to Armenia and Artsakh to do a TV program on the Armenian cuisine in both countries, and Azerbaijan immediately declared him persona non grata!

Bourdain’s name was added to the blacklist “for his disrespect of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Hikmet Hajiyev, Azeri Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Agence France-Presse. “Filming a food show on Azerbaijan's occupied territory is an insult to one million Azerbaijani refugees who were forcefully expelled from their homes,” Hajiyev added. This makes no sense. The only thing Azeri officials were able to accomplish is prevent Bourdain from going to Azerbaijan and prepare a CNN show on the Azeri cuisine, which would have provided a lot of publicity for the country!

Azerbaijan’s black list has several major shortcomings:

1) So far, there are only 700 names on the black list, whereas, over the years, several hundred thousand tourists have visited Artsakh from around the world. While the names of all visitors to Artsakh are not publicly known, certainly much more than 700 visitors have gone to Artsakh! It appears that someone at Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry is sleeping on the job.

2) Why is it that of the 700 names on the black list, there is not a single citizen of Armenia? While the names of regular visitors from Armenia may not be known to Azeri officials, they surely know that the President, Prime Minister, and other high-ranking officials from the Republic of Armenia frequently visit Artsakh and their trips are well publicized. Could it be that Azerbaijan does not consider citizens of Armenia visiting Artsakh to be foreigners? Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry’s website acknowledges that “Nagorno-Karabagh” is “temporarily out of the control of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” Is it possible that Azerbaijan now considers Artsakh to be permanently “out of the control of the Republic of Azerbaijan?”

3) Very few of the blacklisted visitors have complained about not being able to visit Azerbaijan. On the contrary, many of them have expressed their pride that their names are on Azerbaijan’s black list. Even more shocking, several individuals, not seeing their names on the black list after visiting Artsakh, have asked that they be added to the black list because they consider being on that list a badge of honor!

To make matters worse, in recent months Azerbaijan has requested that other countries extradite their citizens to Baku for having visited Artsakh. In one case, a journalist from Belarus was shamefully arrested and sent to Azerbaijan where he was jailed for several months! He was finally released after international pressure on Azerbaijan and condemnation by the European Council.

This is an abuse of power and export of Azeri oppression and intimidation to third countries which must be ashamed for collaborating with a despotic Azeri regime!

Կայքում տեղ գտած մտքերն ու տեսակետները հեղինակի սեփականությունն են և կարող են չհամընկնել Asekose.am-ի խմբագրության տեսակետների հետ: Նյութերի ներքո` վիրավորական ցանկացած արտահայտություն կհեռացվի կայքից:
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