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U.S. Tells Azerbaijan To Pull Back Troops


U.S. - The US State Department is seen on November 29, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The United States urged Azerbaijan on Friday to immediately withdraw its troops from Armenia’s border areas.

“We expect Azerbaijan to pull back all forces immediately and cease further provocation,” a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jalina Porter, told reporters.

“Military movements in disputed territories are irresponsible and they're also unnecessarily provocative,” Porter said, adding that border demarcation issues should be resolved through negotiation and discussion.

The State Department reacted more cautiously to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border standoff on Thursday, calling on both sides to show “restraint in de-escalating the situation peacefully.”

Acting Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker had separate phone calls with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.

Porter’s remarks came shortly after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Azerbaijan of failing to honor a pledge to withdraw its forces from Armenian territory occupied by them this week. He again charged that Baku is trying to “provoke a large-scale military clash” six months after a Russian-brokered ceasefire stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier on Friday, Armenia formally appealed to Russia and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization for military support.

Azerbaijan has denied sending troops across the border and said its forces only took up new positions on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier.

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