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Azerbaijan: Border Troop Commander Rejects Joint Protection Proposal

Prague, 18 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijan refused to sign a document on the joint protection of the external borders of CIS countries at a recent meeting of the commanders of CIS border troops in Georgia.

Abbasali Novruzov, commander of Azerbaijan's border troops, said in an interview with RFE/RL that the first reason for the rejection is that another member of the CIS, Armenia occupies a 130 kilometer long stretch of Azerbaijani land on the border with Iran.

According to Abbasali Novruzov, the second reason is that Azerbaijan is an independent state and is able to protect it's external borders without outside help.

He added that there was no significant Russian pressure on Azerbaijan over the issue, but that differences with Moscow remain.