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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Armenia amid cease-fire

September 18, 2022

Over 200 troops died in clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan before the cease-fire, which has held since Wednesday. Pelosi is the highest-ranking US official to travel to the country since its independence.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a runway holding flowers next to Armenian National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan; both are walking away from the plane Pelosi disembarked from
US House Speaker Pelosi was welcomed by Armenian National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan when she arrived in YerevanImage: Handout via REUTERS

A US congressional delegation headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Armenia on Saturday, where a cease-fire with Azerbaijan has held for three days following clashes.

More than 200 troops died in the clashes.

The US Embassy said the visit will include a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

What did Pelosi say about the visit?

On Friday during a visit to Berlin, Pelosi said that the trip "is all about human rights and respecting the dignity and worth of every person."

Pelosi said the visit "is a powerful symbol of the United States' firm commitment to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Armenia, and a stable and secure Caucasus region."

She is the highest-ranking US official to travel to Armenia since the country's independence in 1991.

Pelosi is a member of the House of Representatives from California, which has one of the largest Armenian diaspora populations in the world.

Alongside France and Russia, Washington co-chairs the Minsk Group of mediators, which has long held peace talks between Baku and Yerevan.

Situation tense at Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Cease-fire holding since Wednesday

Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a cease-fire on Wednesday following two days of fighting.

Pashinyan said at least 135 Armenian troops were killed during the clashes. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said on Friday that it had lost 77.

Armenia and Azerbaijan traded blame for the outbreak of hostilities.

Yerevan and Baku have fought two wars over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, an Armenian-majority enclave within Azerbaijan's internationally recognized borders.

The war in 2020 ended with a cease-fire brokered by Moscow. 6,500 troops died in the war.

Under the 2020 deal, Armenia ceded territory it had captured during the first war in the 1990s, and Russia deployed 2,000 troops to oversee the cease-fire.

sdi/wd (AP, AFP)