Nancy Pelosi condemns Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia

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  • Pelosi accuses Azerbaijan of starting the conflict
  • Azerbaijan says Pelosi endangers peace in the Caucasus
  • Azerbaijan calls Pelosi’s comments unacceptable
  • Pelosi hails Armenia’s ‘velvet revolution’
  • US listening to Armenia on defense, says Pelosi

TBILISI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday strongly condemned what she called Azerbaijan’s “unlawful” border attacks on Armenia, using a visit to the Russian ally to pledge American support for its sovereignty.

Pelosi presented his trip to Armenia, a strip of land the size of the US state of Maryland, wedged between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Iran, as an attempt to build support for what she presented as a beacon of democracy.

Speaking in the ancient city of Yerevan, Pelosi said his trip had significance following Azerbaijan’s “unlawful and deadly attacks on Armenian territory” which sparked border clashes in which more than 200 people were killed.

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“We strongly condemn these attacks,” Pelosi said alongside Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan, who last week expressed his displeasure with a Russian-led military alliance’s response to a request for help. Yerevan. Read more

Pelosi, who angered China during a trip to Taiwan last month, said it was clear the border fighting was sparked by Azeri assaults on Armenia and the timeline of the conflict should be clarified.

The fighting “was initiated by the Azeris and it must be recognized,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s remarks drew an unusually strong rebuke from Baku, which said she was endangering peace in the Caucasus.

“The unsubstantiated and unjust accusations made by Pelosi against Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the ministry said, calling Pelosi’s remarks “Armenian propaganda.”

Such a definitive allocation of responsibility for the conflict goes beyond what the US State Department has so far stated in public. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern over the fighting and called for calm but did not assign blame.

Armenia said Azerbaijan bombed at least six Armenian settlements inside the border shortly after midnight on September 13, attacking civilian and military infrastructure with drones and high-caliber guns. Yerevan said it was an unprovoked attack.

Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, rejects these claims. According to Baku, Armenian sabotage units tried to undermine Azeri positions, prompting soldiers to react. Armenia says the narrative is Azeri disinformation.

THE BACKYARD OF RUSSIA

Russia, which has repeatedly condemned Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, views the Caucasus as its own sphere of influence and bristles at what it calls US interference in the region.

However, Moscow is concerned about the war in Ukraine which has sparked the biggest confrontation with the West since the height of the Cold War.

Russia is Armenia’s main military ally, has a military base in northern Armenia and peacekeepers along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh, on which Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war in 2020.

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia has enough resources to mediate in the conflict. The latest fighting ended after a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

But after pleas for help, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance of former Soviet republics that includes Armenia but not Azerbaijan, decided on Tuesday to send a monitoring mission.

Speaker of Armenia’s Parliament Simonyan said he was unhappy with the response, comparing the CSTO to a gun that doesn’t fire bullets.

Speaking alongside Pelosi, US Representative Frank Pallone said the United States wanted to do all it could to further support Armenia’s security.

The United States, Pelosi said, was listening to Armenia about its defense needs and said Washington wanted to help and support Armenia in what it portrayed as a global struggle between democracy and democracy. autocracy.

“We should use our influence, our leverage to show that Armenian democracy and sovereignty is a priority,” Pelosi said. “The Velvet Revolution has been acclaimed around the world.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 after anti-government protests called the Armenian Velvet Revolution.

Pelosi said it was interesting that Armenia was disappointed with Russia’s response.

“It’s interesting that they were disappointed that they got investigators and not protection from this relationship and we’ll see what happens next,” she said.

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Written by Guy Faulconbridge, edited by William Maclean, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alex Richardson

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