Armenia's state broadcaster announced yesterday (7 March) the decision not to participate in the contest in neighbouring Azerbaijan in May.
The statement underscores tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenian-populated enclave claimed by Azerbaijan (see background) and the flashpoint of more than 20 years of conflict.
"Despite the fact that the Azeri authorities have given security guarantees to all participating countries, several days ago the Azeri president made a statement that enemy number one for Azerbaijan was Armenians," Armenia's Public Television said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.
"There is no logic to sending a participant to a country where he will be met as an enemy," the statement said.
Azeri officials were not immediately available for the comment.
A group of Armenian singers, including those who planned to participate in the national competition ahead of the contest, said last month they would not go to Azerbaijan. Yerevan had earlier said an Armenian soldier had been killed by an Azeri sniper on the frontline near Nagorno-Karabakh.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), organiser of the song contest, expressed disappointment over Armenia's decision.
"We are truly disappointed by the broadcaster's decision to withdraw from this year's Eurovision Song Contest," Jon Ola Sand, the contest's executive supervisor, said in a statement published on the EBU website.
"Despite the efforts of the EBU and the host broadcaster to ensure a smooth participation for the Armenian delegation in this year's contest, circumstances beyond our control lead to this unfortunate decision."
Regional diplomatic tensions have occasionally erupted on the sidelines of the competition, which causes considerable excitement in many countries' show business communities.
The Eurovision song contest enjoys considerable popularity in Eastern Europe and countries in EU's periphery, where winning the contest is seen as a matter of national pride. Estonia was the first post-Soviet country to win the competition in 2001, followed by Latvia in 2002. Turkey won in 2003, followed by Ukraine in 2004, Serbia in 2007 and Russia in 2008. By winning last year, Azerbaijan obtained the coveted hosting of this year's contest.
Semifinals of the Eurovision song contest in the Azeri capital Baku will be held on 22 and 24 May and the grand final is on 26 May.