State Department voices concern over renewed violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan

State Department voices concern over renewed violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan
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The State Department on Thursday voiced concern over renewed violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan after Azerbaijani forces detained several Armenian soldiers.

“The United States is concerned by recent developments along the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including the detention of several Armenian soldiers by Azerbaijani forces. We call on both sides to urgently and peacefully resolve this incident,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement

“We also continue to call on Azerbaijan to release immediately all prisoners of war and other detainees, and we remind Azerbaijan of its obligations under international humanitarian law to treat all detainees humanely,” he added.  

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The condemnation of the renewed violence comes after six Armenian service members were detained by Azerbaijani troops near the border between the two countries.

Azerbaijan accused the troops of trying to cross the border, but Armenia maintains the men had stayed in Armenian territory. 

The incident marks the latest development in a lingering border dispute that broke out into six weeks of fighting between the two countries’ militaries earlier this year over a disputed border region.

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The fighting resulted in Azerbaijan forcing ethnic Armenian forces out of territory they had controlled for decades in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A Russia-mediated cease-fire halted the fighting, but tensions have lingered, at times flaring up into cross-border clashes.

The U.S. said any moves by either military to cross the border would be considered “provocative and unnecessary.”

“We reject the use of force to demarcate the border and call on both sides to return to their previous positions and to cease military fortification of the non-demarcated border and the emplacement of landmines. Specifically, we call on Azerbaijan to relocate its forces to the positions they held on May 11. We also call on Armenia to relocate its forces to the positions they held on May 11, and welcome statements of intent to this effect,” Price said. 

“These actions will de-escalate tensions and create space for a peaceful negotiation process to demarcate the border on an urgent basis,” he added. “The United States is prepared to assist these efforts.”