US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemns Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and Alen Simonyan, Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly (Nancy Pelosi, September 18)

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia during her landmark visit to Yerevan on March 18-19. September.

“Armenia is of particular importance to us because – the focus is on security after Azerbaijan’s illegal and deadly attacks on Armenian territory. We and our delegation strongly condemn the attacks on behalf of Congress, which threaten the prospects for much-needed peace,” Pelosi said said during a joint press conference with the President of the National Assembly of Armenia Alen Simonyan.

In addition to specifically blaming Azerbaijan for last week’s attacks, Pelosi said Congress has been trying to hold Turkey accountable for the ongoing Artsakh conflict.

“As the United States, which holds the OSCE Minsk Chairmanship, has long made clear, there can be no military solution,” Pelosi said during the press conference with Simonian. “I mentioned earlier in our meeting that for decades we in Congress have tried in a bipartisan way to blame Turkey and Azerbaijan for this conflict.”

Pelosi reiterated American support for a “negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable solution” to the Artsakh conflict.

The speaker of the House of Representatives also referred to “hate crimes against the Armenian community” around the world and in the United States, as well as Azerbaijan’s use of force against “people and holy places” in Artsakh.

Pelosi is the senior US official to visit the Republic of Armenia. The US newspaper Politico first announced on September 15 that Pelosi had decided to travel to Armenia after the full-scale attack by Azerbaijan between September 13-14 as a show of support for the country. pelosi Approved the visit the following day on the grounds that the trip had taken place “rather spontaneously”.

Pelosi said during her visit that the trip was planned before the Azerbaijan attacks. “But it happens that we come in person in time – strongly condemning the recent attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenia,” Pelosi said said while addressing leaders of Armenian civil society at the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with leaders of Armenian civil society (Nancy Pelosi, September 19)

Pelosi led a congressional delegation that included Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues co-chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Caucus member Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

Members of the delegation referred to Armenia’s close ties with Russia and Armenia’s membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and alluded to the failure of the Russian-led military bloc to provide military support to Armenia following the Azerbaijan attacks.

“We understand that Armenia is part of this security agreement with Russia. Now we are not proposing anything about it,” Pallone said during the press conference with the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament. “We want to do everything we can to provide stronger support for Armenia’s security, and we will work to see what the United States can do to help Armenia’s security without reference to Russia or the Russian agreement.”

“The decision of your relations with other entities rests with Armenia,” Pelosi said. “It’s interesting that they were disappointed that they were given fact finders and no protection from this relationship. We’ll see what happens next.”

Armenia asked the CSTO for military assistance in the hours after the attack began, which began just after midnight on September 13, to “prepare a report” to be presented to CSTO member states later this year. The mission, led by CSTO chief Stanislav Zas, arrived in Armenia on Tuesday.

On September 15, the Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan announced that a ceasefire agreement was reached “thanks to the participation of the international community” that Azerbaijan has not yet recognized. Pelosi appeared to confirm that the United States played a key role in pressuring Azerbaijan to cease hostilities, stating during her press conference with Simonyan: “The United States’ immediate response was to end the violence and unite.” achieve a ceasefire.”

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Pelosi also met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan. The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Minister of Defense discussed “a number of issues related to cooperation between the two countries in the defense sector,” according to the Defense Ministry of Armenia reportedwithout further explanations.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Nancy Pelosi, September 18)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan during their visit to Yerevan condemned the “baseless and unfair accusations made by N. Pelosi against Azerbaijan”.

“N. Pelosi is known as a pro-Armenian politician and the presence of pro-Armenian congressmen in her delegation to Armenia is clear evidence of this,” MoFA said said in a written statement. “What N. Pelosi said during her visit to Armenia should be taken as a statement made on the basis of Armenian propaganda.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to dismiss the impact Pelosi’s visit could have on the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

“Anything that is not just words but deeds – and not loud, not populist, but quiet and factual – can help normalize relations, can help stabilize the situation on the border,” said Peskov said Reporter. “All of this is to be welcomed. Can such high-profile actions and statements contribute to this normalization? Just take a look. We will see.”

Last week marked the first time in this decades-long conflict that Azerbaijan launched a full-scale attack within Armenia’s internationally recognized borders. It was the deadliest fighting in the region since the 2020 Artsakh war.

Armenian authorities report at least 207 people killed or missing, including three civilians, as well as 293 soldiers and seven civilians wounded and 20 soldiers captured during the two-day fighting. Azerbaijani forces attacked 36 settlements in Armenia’s Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor and Syunik provinces. destroy 60 houses and more than 130 others damaged. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reports 80 dead, 282 soldiers and two civilians wounded.

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Armenian casualties include at least four soldiers killed in Azerbaijani captivity. Illustrative footage that appears to show the brutal murder and mutilation of female Armenian soldiers has been circulated on social media. The Ministry of Defense of Armenia reported that the Armenian soldiers Susanna Grigoryan, Anush Apetyan, Alisa Melkonyan and Irina Gasparyan were killed in last week’s attacks.

Armenian authorities say Azerbaijan has launched its latest attacks to force Armenia to accept its demands in the ongoing negotiation process. These demands include a peace deal that recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and the creation of the so-called “Zangezur Corridor,” a route with no passport or customs controls that runs through Armenia and connects Azerbaijan to its Nakhchivan exclave. While the Armenian authorities have said they are ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, they have added that any peace deal must address the status of Artsakh and the security of its Armenian people, issues Azerbaijan reportedly refuses to discuss.

“Having adopted the agenda of building peace and opening regional communications, the Republic of Armenia considers the policy of threats and coercion pursued by Azerbaijan to be unacceptable,” the Armenian Security Council said said in a statement dated 19

On September 16, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reiterated calls for a swiftly negotiated peace deal and the “Sangezur Corridor”.

“Now we must start work on the draft peace treaty without preconditions and artificial delays,” Aliyev said said.

Lilian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq, and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in journalism and Middle Eastern studies from New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian’s first collection of poetry, Journey to Tatev, was published with Girls on Key Press in Spring 2021.

Lilian Avedian

Lilian Avedian

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