In Russia’s backyard, Pelosi condemns Azerbaijan’s attacks on Armenia


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses a news conference after their meeting at the German lower house of parliament in Berlin, Germany September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Mang/File Photo

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  • Pelosi blames Azerbaijan for starting the conflict
  • Pelosi Praises Armenia’s ‘Velvet Revolution’
  • US listens to Armenia on defense, says Pelosi
  • Around 200 people killed in border fighting

TBILISI, Sept 18 (Reuters) – US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday strongly condemned what she described as Azerbaijan’s “illegal” border attacks on Armenia, using a visit to the Russian ally to publicize American support for his promise of sovereignty.

Pelosi planned her trip to Armenia, a piece of land the size of the US state of Maryland sandwiched between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Iran, as an attempt to bolster support for what she describes as a beacon of “democracy.” “ referred to.

Speaking in the ancient city of Yerevan, Pelosi said her trip had significance after the “illegal and deadly attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory” that sparked border fighting that killed more than 200 people.

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“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms,” ​​Pelosi said alongside Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan, who last week expressed dissatisfaction with a Russian-led military coalition’s response to Yerevan’s request for help. Continue reading

Pelosi, who angered China with a trip to Taiwan last month, said it was clear the border fighting was sparked by Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia and that the chronology of the conflict should be clarified.

The fighting “was initiated by the Azerbaijanis and that has to be recognised,” Pelosi said.

Such definitive blame for the conflict goes beyond what the US State Department has publicly said so far. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken expressed concern about the fighting and called for calm, but did not admit blame.

Armenia said Azerbaijan shelled at least six Armenian settlements inside the border just after midnight on September 13, attacking civilian and military infrastructure with drones and large-caliber guns. Yerevan said it was unprovoked aggression.

Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, denies these claims. Baku says Armenian sabotage units attempted to mine Azerbaijani positions, prompting soldiers to respond. Armenia says this narrative is Azerbaijani disinformation.

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Azerbaijan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Pelosi’s remarks.

RUSSIA’S BACKYARD

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

However, Moscow is preoccupied with 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 peacekeeping forces along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh over which Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war in 2020.

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia has sufficient resources to mediate in the conflict. Recent fighting ended after a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

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

Armenian Parliament Speaker Simonyan said he was unhappy with the response, likening the CSTO to a pistol that doesn’t fire bullets.

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Alongside Pelosi, US Representative Frank Pallone said the United States would do everything it could to provide greater security support to Armenia.

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

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

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 following anti-government protests dubbed 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 fact finders and no protection from this relationship and we’ll see what happens next,” she said.

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Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by William Maclean and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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