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German Lawmaker Unable To Accompany Merkel On Azerbaijan Trip Because Of Nagorno-Karabakh Visit

Galust Sahakian (right), speaker of Armenia's parliament, awards the National Assembly's Medal of Honor to Albert Weiler, member of German Bundestag, in Yerevan in August 2016.

Azerbaijan has refused to allow German lawmaker Albert Weiler to accompany Chancellor Angela Merkel on her upcoming trip to Azerbaijan because he visited the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh without Baku's permission.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on August 21 that the "position of the Azerbaijani authorities does not contribute to the dialogue around the Nagorno-Karabakh."

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmat Haciyev said the same day in Baku that Weiler's name had been included on the list of individuals whose presence in Azerbaijan is undesirable since he took unsanctioned trips to "Azerbaijan's temporarily occupied territories in 2014 and 2016."

Weiler was expected to accompany Merkel in her South Caucasus tour scheduled for August 23-25.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Since 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces which Baku says include troops supplied by Armenia.

Internationally mediated negotiations involving the OSCE's so-called Minsk Group helped forge a cease-fire in the region, which is not always honored, but have failed to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict.

Based on reporting by Bild, Interfax, and