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Pelosi criticizes ‘illegal’ attacks by Azerbaijan during visit to Armenia

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives expresses her support for Armenia in what she calls a “struggle between democracy and autocracy”.

A powerful American politician has condemned what she says are “illegal” border attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenia and used a visit to Russia’s military ally to pledge US support.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday in the capital Yerevan that her trip had special significance after “illegal and deadly attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory” that led to border fighting that killed more than 200 people.

Pelosi said it was clear that the border fighting was sparked by Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia and the chronology of the conflict should be clarified

“We condemn in the strongest terms these attacks,” Pelosi said. “This was initiated by the Azerbaijanis and that must be acknowledged.”

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

Pelosi also said she finds it interesting that Armenia is unhappy with the response of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization.

A senior Armenian official last week expressed dissatisfaction with the Russian-led military coalition’s response to Yerevan’s request for help.

“Of course we are very dissatisfied. The expectations we had were not justified,” Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan told national television, according to Interfax news agency, comparing the CSTO to a pistol that doesn’t fire bullets.

Farid Shafiyev from the Center of Analysis of International Relations told Al Jazeera from the Azerbaijani capital Baku that the reason for Pelosi’s visit is to secure the US-Armenian vote for re-election in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Your constituency in California is heavily influenced by Armenian votes,” he said, calling Pelosi’s trip a purely political ploy.

The midterm elections in November will contest all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate.

Dozens of soldiers from both sides were killed in an outbreak of fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia this week.

A ceasefire came into effect on Wednesday after two days of fierce fighting that marked the largest outbreak of hostilities in almost two years.

Armenia and Azerbaijan traded blame for the shelling, with Armenian authorities blaming Baku for unprovoked aggression and Azerbaijani officials saying their country responded to Armenian attacks.

The two former Soviet countries are locked in a decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnically Armenian, Armenian-backed forces since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

During a six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan recaptured large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas held by Armenian forces.

More than 6,700 people died in the fighting, which ended in a Russian-brokered peace deal. Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

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