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Armenian Judo Team To Miss International Competition In Azerbaijan

An Armenian judo team will not travel to Baku for the world championships this month, Armenia’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs said on September 5.

According to Armenian sport officials, Azerbaijan has refused to formally provide necessary guarantees for the security of the Armenian delegation.

The World Judo Championships are scheduled to run between September 20-27 in Azerbaijan's capital.

The question of providing security for the athletes appears to be related to a recent intensification of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Before a flare-up in fighting that killed dozens of soldiers on both sides in April 2016, athletes from both Armenia and Azerbaijan traveled between the two neighboring countries on several occasions to take part in major international competitions.

More than two dozen Armenians took part in the first European Games held in Baku in 2015, for example.

Azerbaijani athletes also attended a number of major international competitions in Armenia, including judo, boxing, and archery events.

In all those cases, security guarantees to athletes were provided by the authorities of the host nation.

But relations between the two countries have deteriorated since the April 2016 clashes.

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