The United States has welcomed Thursday's Azerbaijani Constitutional Court decision to annul the results of last month's parliamentary elections in five additional districts.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormick called the action a positive step but he said more needs to be done to address serious concerns by the international community about reports of fraud in the November 6 vote. He urged Azerbaijani leaders to restore credibility by rerunning elections under international standards in the 10 areas where the votes were canceled.

He also called on them to assure freedom of assembly and prosecute those responsible for election fraud.

Azerbaijan's opposition has been staging almost weekly demonstrations protesting the election, but postponed for a week the protest set for Saturday.

Police used batons and water cannon to break up last Saturday's demonstration after it exceeded its allotted time.