Nancy Pelosi Condemns Azerbaijan Over Latest Armenian Border Fight
Posted on September. 23. 2022
By Sara Khojoyan and Zulfugar Agayev | Bloomberg
US Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned what she called “deadly attacks” on Armenian territory by Azerbaijan after a meeting on Sunday with Armenian officials in Yerevan.
Pelosi, the first Speaker to visit the southern Caucasian nation, spoke at a press conference with her Armenian counterpart. Her characterization of events was rejected by Azerbaijan.
Her visit, less than eight weeks before US midterm elections in which Pelosi’s Democratic Party’s majority in the House is at risk, was part of a trip that also took her to the G-7 Speakers Summit in Berlin.
Her comments follow clashes on the Armenia-Azerbaijani border that started early on Sept. 13 and killed a total of more than 200 soldiers from both sides. The US, Russia and France were among the countries urging a cease-fire.
“Territorial security and sovereignty of Armenia is a value for the United States. We should be using our influence and our leverage to support it,” Pelosi said.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry rejected Pelosi’s assessment of who had been the aggressor as “groundless.”
Azerbaijan didn’t attack Armenia and instead took action to defend its borders after Armenian provocation, the ministry said in an emailed statement.
“Groundless statements like these do not help strengthen the fragile peace in the region. Quite the contrary, they aggravate tensions,” the ministry said.
Among Pelosi’s delegation were three members of the Congressional caucus on Armenian issues, including Democratic Representatives Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo of California, both of Armenian descent.
Armenia and Azerbaijan blame each other for starting the fighting that spiraled into the worst confrontation since a 44-day war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. That conflict left thousands of soldiers dead on both sides until Russian President Vladimir Putin helped to negotiate a truce.
Azerbaijan handed over bodies of 32 soldiers killed in the latest conflict, Armenia’s defense ministry said.
The latest truce, brokered by US, is being observed, according to Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan, who called for sanctions against Azerbaijan to stop what he called “authoritarian attacks against Armenia’s democracy.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country helped Azerbaijan win the 2020 war, told reporters Saturday that Azerbaijan had “announced the completion of the military operation.”
Erdogan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, according to the Russian news outlet Ria Novosti.