ACRE staff member removed from blacklist of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry

ACRE staff member removed from blacklist of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry

Staff member of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe- ACRE, Themistoklis Asthenidis, who illegally visited our occupied territories, addressed an official letter to the Azerbaijani Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium asking not to be included in the "list of foreign citizens who illegally visited to the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan".

In the letter Themistoklis Asthenidis noted that he paid a visit to Armenia as a part of the official delegation to Yerevan in December 2017, where ACRE event took place and admitted that he visited the occupied territories without prior notice, the Foreign Ministry said.

"As part of our visit in Armenia, our local partner has organized a series of tourist activities for members of our delegation. Prior to our departure for the activities on the day, I was absolutely unaware of the intention of our local partner to also take me to the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh, as the specifics of the visit were intentionally unclear at the time of departure and I recognize have been retrospectively misleading," his letter says.

In his letter Asthenidis reaffirmed his full respect to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan and of Nagorno-Karabakh as an integral part of Azerbaijan, noting that his visit does not constitute any recognition of the illegal occupation of our territories, and stressed that as a professional lawyer, he is very well aware of the legal and political sensitivities around the issue of our occupied territories.

He expressed his sincere regrets for this action and asked for permission to visit Baku in June of this year.

The appeal by Asthenidis was in a due manner considered and the decision was taken not to add his name into the "list of Foreign citizens illegally visited to occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan."

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