ARMENIA: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blamed recent border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia on Azerbaijan, calling the attacks “illegal” during a visit to the region on Sunday.
A recent outburst of fighting between the two countries over a hotly contested area killed more than 200 troops, and the sides agreed to a cease-fire beginning Wednesday, days before Pelosi landed in Armenia.
“Our meeting, again, had a particular importance to us because of the focus on security following the illegal and deadly attacks by the Azerbaijan on the Armenian territory,” Pelosi said during a press conference.
“We strongly condemn those attacks, we in our delegation on behalf of Congress, which threatens prospects for much-needed peace agreement,” she continued.
The two countries’ fight over the Nagorno-Karabakh region stretches back decades. The region is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan, but it remains under control of ethnic Armenians following an Armenian-backed separatist war that ended in 1994.
More than 6,700 people were killed during a six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020, and the recent fighting marks the highest level of violence in about two years.
Pelosi said the delegation, which landed in Armenia on Saturday and includes Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), was planned before the recent outbreak of violence.
Speier and Pallone serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, and Speier and Eshoo are both Armenian American.
Pelosi’s office framed the trip as promoting democracy in Armenia, an ex-Soviet country that remains a Russian military ally.
Armenia’s prime minister said the country’s government asked Russia, which operates a military base in Armenia, for military support through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, but the prime minister expressed dissatisfaction at the support given so far.