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Baku Blacklists EU Lawmakers, Researchers Over Karabakh Visits

Baku has added three European Parliament members and several European researchers to its international wanted list over their visits to Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Prosecutor-General's Office announced on February 22 that European Parliament members Frank Engel of Luxembourg, Eleni Theocharus of Cyprus, and Jaromir Stetina of the Czech Republic are wanted in Baku for an "illegal" visit to Nagorno-Karabakh on February 20 to monitor a referendum that was not recognized by Baku or the mediating group from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that consists of U.S., Russian, and French diplomats.

The statement also said Baku had launched a probe against four archeologists and biologists from Armenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom for "illegal" excavation works conducted on the breakaway region's territory.

Armenia-backed separatists seized control of the mainly ethnic-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.

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