Nalbandian: Racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance grossly violate human dignity and give rise to tensions within and between societies. That is why the fight against them became one of the main priorities of our chairmanship.
The International Tourism Exhibition was held in Milan, Italy, from February 14 to 17. But this year, and for the first time, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) was represented separately from Armenia. The four-member NKR delegation at the event was led by Sergey Shahverdyan.
The Azerbaijani stand at the exhibition was located in close proximity to the NKR stand, Milan-based Piunik Information Center reports. Not being able to disregard the fact that Karabakh was represented with a separate stand, a representative from the Azerbaijani stand approached the NKR stand, stated that Karabakh having its own stand does not comply with international legal norms, and demanded the NKR representatives to vacate the exhibition hall.
Separately, and on the same evening of February 15, the Azerbaijanis entered the NKR stand, took possession of the brochures, and removed the large poster that read: "Nagornyy Karabakh."
Subsequently, Armenia's Honorary Consul in Milan, Pietro Kuciukian, and Sergey Shahverdyan petitioned to the exhibition manager for assistance.
On the next day, the chief security officer of the event invited Kuciukian and Shahverdyan to his office, where four Azerbaijanis were waiting for them. They continued to claim that the presence of NKR's stand is a violation of the law. After a long argument, however, the chief security officer noted that Azerbaijanis had chosen the wrong place for holding such discussions. Furthermore, he stated that if such demeanor continues, Azerbaijan could be deprived of the right to
have a stand in next year's exhibition.
On the next day, however, the Azerbaijanis placed new posters around their stand, and with inscriptions that read: "One million Azerbaijani refugees," "Armenians have invaded Karabakh," etc.
As a result, Pietro Kuciukian petitioned to the exhibition manager, who promised to intervene in this matter.