Azerbaijan has declared Spain’s prominent operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe persona non grata after she visited Nagorno-Karabakh without Baku’s permission.
Caballe spent two days in the Armenian-controlled disputed territory earlier this week. She met with its president, Bako Sahakian, and spiritual leader, Archbishop Pargev Martirosian. She also visited two Armenian churches in Karabakh, including the medieval Gandzasar monastery.
“This is not only an island of Christianity but also cradle of Christian history,” she reportedly said in Stepanakert. “I’m a Christian from head to foot.”
“I am here in Stepanakert as a singer,” added the 80-year-old world-famous star.
Caballe, who was accompanied by her daughter Montserrat Marti and several musicians, will give a concert in Yerevan on Sunday.
The Azerbaijani Embassy in Spain announced to journalists on Thursday that a special note was sent to the Spanish Foreign Ministry demanding an explanation. It said the note also informed the ministry that Caballe will not be able to receive Azerbaijani visas in the future.
According to Azerbaijani officials, Caballe's managers were warned about the possible consequences of her visit to what was termed “Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.”
In recent years, the authorities in Baku have routinely blacklisted foreign officials and other dignitaries visiting Karabakh via Armenia.