Pelosi condemns ‘illegal’ Azerbaijan attack on Armenia

YEREVAN: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday (Sep 18) condemned what she described as an “illegal” attack by Azerbaijan on Armenia that sparked the worst fighting since their 2020 war.

Baku and Yerevan have accused each other of starting Tuesday’s border clashes, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

“We strongly condemn those attacks – on behalf of Congress – which threaten (the) prospects of the much-needed peace agreement,” Pelosi told journalists in Yerevan.

“Armenia has particular importance to us because of the focus on security following an illegal and deadly attack by Azerbaijan on the Armenian territory.”

The attack was an “assault on (the) sovereignty of Armenia”, she added.

Hostilities between the Caucasus arch foes ended overnight on Thursday thanks to mediation by the United States, Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan said.

Earlier attempts by Russia to broker a truce failed.

“We are grateful to the United States for the agreement of the fragile ceasefire reached by their mediation,” he told journalists alongside Pelosi.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday also spoke with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, according to a State Department readout of their call.

Blinken “urged President Aliyev to adhere to the ceasefire, disengage military forces, and work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations,” said spokesman Ned Price.

US-ARMENIA RAPPROCHEMENT

Pelosi’s visit marks a growing closeness between Washington and Yerevan where frustration is brewing over the lack of support from Armenia’s traditional ally Moscow which is distracted by its nearly seven-month war in Ukraine.

Russia – which has a treaty obligation to defend Armenia in the event of foreign invasion, but which also has close ties with Baku – did not rush to help Yerevan despite a formal demand for military help.

“We asked for military help and our demand was not accepted. Obviously, we are not happy,” Armenia’s security council chairman, Artyom Grigoryan, said Friday.