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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called Azerbaijan’s failure to award any points to Russia’s entry in this year’s Eurovision song contest as “outrageous”.

Sergei Lavrov said the points had been “stolen” from Russia’s Dina Garipova and “this outrageous action will not remain without a response”.

Azerbaijan says it cannot explain how it awarded no points to Russia, when Dina Garipova came second in its phone poll.

Russian voters awarded the maximum 12 points to Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has ordered an inquiry into how its votes for Russia apparently went missing.


And the country’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, sitting next to Sergei Lavrov at a press conference in Moscow, called it a “detective story”.

Elmar Mammadyarov said records from all three of Azerbaijan’s mobile phone operators show that Azeris awarded Ukraine’s entry the most votes, followed by Russia’s.

Azerbaijan says it cannot explain how it awarded no points to Russia, when Dina Garipova came second in its phone poll

Azerbaijan says it cannot explain how it awarded no points to Russia, when Dina Garipova came second in its phone poll

“Where did the votes go? How did they disappear? This, of course, is a question for our public television,” he said.

Sergei Lavrov said he and his counterpart had agreed they should take a “unified course of action” once the reasons for the discrepancy became clear.

A spokesman for the European Broadcasting Union, which runs the Eurovision Song Contest, said the phone vote was not definitive. A national jury in each country also contributes 50% of the final decision, the Associated Press reports.

Despite the high-level political interest, 10 points for second place from Azerbaijan would not have made any difference to Dina Garipova’s fifth place, since she finished 17 points behind Norway.

Azerbaijan, which hosted last year’s contest, has traditionally tried to maintain good relations with Moscow though there have been tensions over energy in the past.

Meanwhile, the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has weighed in with his own accusations. Suspicious that the Belarusian singer did not receive a single point from Russia, he has claimed that the final was falsified.

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has ordered an inquiry into why his country gave Russia “nul points” at Eurovision Song Contest 2013.

Voters and the official Azerbaijan jury in fact gave strong backing to the Russian entry, according to officials.

Azerbaijan’s state broadcaster suggested there may have been voting violations.

Russia gave the maximum 12 points to Azerbaijan’s entry – a ballad by Farid Mammadov.

Farid Mammadov came second behind winner Emmelie de Forest from Denmark.

Russia's Dina Garipova came fifth at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in the Swedish city of Malmo

Russia’s Dina Garipova came fifth at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in the Swedish city of Malmo

Russia’s Dina Garipova came fifth at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in the Swedish city of Malmo.

Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Russia, Polad Bulbuloglu, disclosed that President Ilham Aliyev had ordered an investigation and votes were being recounted.

He said that a large number of voters in Azerbaijan, submitting votes by text message, had supported the Russian Federation.

“According to this data, Russia should have received 10 points from Azerbaijan. An announcement will be made about this tonight on Azeri Public Television.”

Camil Guliyev, head of the country’s state broadcaster, said the failure to give Russia any points was of serious concern.

“We sincerely hope that this incident, possibly initiated by certain interest groups, will not cast a shadow over the brotherly relations of the Russian and Azerbaijani peoples,” he said, without elaborating.

Azerbaijan, which hosted last year’s contest, has traditionally tried to maintain good relations with Moscow though there have been tensions over energy in the past.

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Armenia announces it is severing diplomatic ties with Hungary after the release of Azeri army officer Ramil Safarov convicted of murdering Armenian soldier Gurgen Markarian.

The Azeri serviceman, Ramil Safarov, was given a life sentence for hacking Armenian Gurgen Markarian to death with an axe in 2004 in Budapest.

On Friday, Ramil Safarov was flown to Baku and pardoned, despite Baku’s assurances that his sentence would be enforced.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bitter war over an enclave in the early 1990s.

Armenia said on Friday that Hungary had made a “grave mistake” in sending Ramil Safarov back to Azerbaijan.

Azeri serviceman Ramil Safarov was given a life sentence for hacking Armenian Gurgen Markarian to death with an axe in 2004 in Budapest

Azeri serviceman Ramil Safarov was given a life sentence for hacking Armenian Gurgen Markarian to death with an axe in 2004 in Budapest

“With their joint actions, Azerbaijan and Hungary opened the door to the recurrence of such crimes,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in comments release by his press office.

“I cannot put up with this. The republic of Armenia cannot put up with this,” the president added.

The Hungarian authorities said they had returned Ramil Safarov to his homeland only after receiving assurances from the Baku government that his sentence would be enforced.

Ramil Safarov killed Gurgen Markarian at a military academy in Budapest, where both servicemen attended English-language courses organized by NATO.

During his trial in Hungary, Ramil Safarov said that the Azeri-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabakh and insults from the Armenian officer were at the root of his actions.

Hungary and Azerbaijan have so far made no public comment on the case.

Azerbaijan and Armenia, both former Soviet republics, fought a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in the early 1990s, which left some 30,000 people dead, and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Armenia-backed authorities are currently controlling Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire, skirmishes continue on the borders of the disputed territory.

 

Armenia has announced its withdrawal from the 2012 Eurovision song contest in Baku amid new tension with its old rival Azerbaijan.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organizer of Eurovision song contest, said it was “truly disappointed” by Armenian Public Television’s decision.

Azerbaijani and Armenian forces fought a war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990’s which left at least 25,000 people dead.

A ceasefire was signed in 1994, but no permanent peace deal has been reached.

There has also been internal tension in Azerbaijan, where security forces used force to break up an opposition rally in the northern district of Quba on Friday.

Armenia has announced its withdrawal from the 2012 Eurovision song contest in Baku amid new tension with its old rival Azerbaijan

Armenia has announced its withdrawal from the 2012 Eurovision song contest in Baku amid new tension with its old rival Azerbaijan

Armenian Public Television accused Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev of making hostile remarks in recent days.

“Despite the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities have given security guarantees to all participating countries, several days ago the Azerbaijani president made a statement that enemy number one for Azerbaijan were the Armenians,” the Armenian TV said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.

Last month, a group of Armenian pop singers launched a Eurovision boycott campaign, saying: “We refuse to appear in a country that is well known for mass killings and massacres of Armenians, in a country where anti-Armenian sentiments have been elevated to the level of state policy.

“There is no logic to sending a participant to a country where he will be met as an enemy.”

In a speech about local government on 28 February, which was posted on the Azerbaijani leader’s website, President Ilham Aliyev said: “Our main enemies are Armenians of the world and the hypocritical and corrupt politicians under their control.”

Reacting to news of the Armenian withdrawal, senior Azerbaijani politician Ali Ahmedov told reporters that Armenia had no genuine reason to boycott the competition in Baku.

“The Armenian refusal to take part in such a respected contest will cause even further damage to the already damaged image of Armenia,” said Ali Ahmedov, who is secretary of the governing party.