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Azerbaijan foreign ministry move to assure Arsenal midfielder Mkhitaryan

Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been assured by Azerbaijan officials he can enter the country ahead of the Europa League final in Baku.

His involvement in the final with Chelsea has been in doubt because of political tension between his native Armenia and the host nation.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in conflict over issues in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region for three decades.

But Azerbaijan's foreign ministry spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva insists politics will not stand in his way of helping the Gunners claim the title.

Abdullayeva said: "Many major sports events have been hosted in Azerbaijan, and Armenian athletes have taken part in them. Sports and politics are separate."

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Paul Vegas

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