'Unacceptable and Escalatory': Pelosi Condemns Azeri Attacks on Armenia Following Deadly Border Clashes

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned what she described as “Azerbaijan’s recent attacks on Armenia” during an address in the Armenian capital Yerevan on September 18.

Pelosi said her visit was planned before deadly border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier in the week that killed as many as 155 soldiers, on both sides, according to media.

“Make no mistake, this assault is unacceptable and escalatory, and threatens the prospects for the much-needed peace agreement process to succeed,” Pelosi said, adding that “the situation” was a priority for US President Joe Biden and the US Congress.

She also said Armenia was central to a global “debate between democracy and autocracy with its proximity to Russia.”

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hit back at the US Speaker, describing her remarks as “groundless and unfair”.

“This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the ministry said in a statement. “Such unilateral steps and groundless statements serve not to strengthen the fragile peace in the region, but, rather to escalate tension.”

Earlier in the day, Pelosi paid tribute to victims of the Armenian Genocide at a memorial in Yerevan. Credit: Nancy Pelosi via Storyful

Video transcript

NANCY PELOSI: And so we're here committed, just to say, America is committed to Armenia's security, Armenia's democracy. And we stand with Armenia at a difficult time, it's a difficult time in the world when it's still a battle between democracy and autocracy. Armenia is a place where you can see those contrasts come into play.

Again, we come at a time, well, we didn't plan the trip around what happened last week. The trip was planned before that. But it so happens that we come at a time in person, strongly condemn Azerbaijan's recent attacks on Armenia. Make no mistake, this assault is unacceptable and escalatory, and threatening prospects for the much needed peace agreement, peace process to succeed.

As America, as an OSCE Minsk group co-chair and friend of Armenia, the United States is committed to supporting a negotiated comprehensive and sustainable settlement, including especially those hostilities directed towards civilians. As the US government has long made clear there can be no military solution to the conflict. A sustained renewable hostilities would be disastrous with more loss of life, more destruction, more refugees, and with enormous cost.

The United States continues to watch the situation closely. This is a priority for President Biden and for the Congress, who have long been committed to stability, security and peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Let me just say in that regard that Armenia is at the center of this debate between democracy and autocracy with its proximity to Russia.

But it's also part of a global discussion or contrast between the two. So we find this to be a pivotal time to be here as to what is going on in Ukraine, their fight for freedom as we advocate for peaceful resolution of what is happening here.