Pelosi visits Armenia, condemns ‘illegal and deadly attacks’


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat of California, and a delegation of lawmakers traveled to Armenia amid renewed clashes with neighboring Azerbaijan, killing more than 200 soldiers, according to US officials.

While speaking in Yerevan, Armenia and Pelosi condemned “Illegal and deadly attack on Armenian territory by Azerbaijan” that triggered the border dispute. “We strongly condemn these attacks,” she said beside Armenian parliamentary speaker Allen Simoyan.

The two countries last week agreed to a ceasefire that lasted three days. However, Pelosi argued that the fighting was “initiated by Azeri and must be recognized.”

Pelosi is the first high-ranking US official to visit Armenia in decades and the first since Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Azerbaijan was also a Soviet republic before the dissolution of the bloc.

The US Embassy Confirmed Pelosi’s visit on Saturday will include a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, he said. She was attended by Rep. Frank Pallone (DN.J.), Rep. Anna Eshu (D-California) and Jackie Speier (D-California), according to her embassy officials.

According to the embassy, ​​besides visiting Pashinyan, Pelosi will also participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Armenian Genocide Memorial and will give a speech at the Kafzian Arts Center.

border between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani soldiers cross the Armenian-Azerbaijan border and approach Armenian positions in a video still released on September 13, 2022. (Armenian Ministry of Defense via AP)

A ceasefire took effect Wednesday night after two days of heavy fighting that marked the largest outbreak of hostilities in nearly two years.

The two former Soviet states are embroiled in a decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan, but since the end of the separatist war in 1994, Armenia-backed ethnic Armenian forces have been involved. under control.

During the six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan regained large swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjoining territory held by Armenian forces. More than 6,700 people died in the fighting, which ended in a peace deal brokered by Russia. Moscow has deployed about 2,000 troops to the region as peacekeepers.

Following Pelosi’s remarks on Sunday, Azeri officials sharply criticized the chairman.

“The baseless and unwarranted accusations leveled by Pelosi against Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” the Azeri Foreign Ministry said in a statement. report According to Reuters. “This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the ministry added, claiming Pelosi’s comments were “Armenian propaganda.”

Russia, on the other hand, sees Armenia, which recently asked Moscow for help, as a regional ally. The Kremlin has also sought friendly relations with Azerbaijan in recent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Friday that Russia could mediate the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, offering support to Moscow despite the escalating conflict in Ukraine. said there are sufficient resources for

“Under Russian influence, this conflict has been localized. I hope this continues,” Putin told reporters, Reuters reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

follow

Jack Phillips is a New York-based breaking news reporter for the Epoch Times.