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Pelosi confirms snap visit to Armenia after deadly clashes

file photo: u.s. house speaker nancy pelosi holds news conference on capitol hill in washington
Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday confirmed that she would make a snap visit to Armenia after border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan killed more than 200 people this week.

Pelosi would travel with two members of Congress who are Armenian Americans, she said, but declined to give further details of what she called a “rather spontaneous” decision to make the trip.

Speaking at a Group of Seven (G7) countries meeting in Berlin, she said “tomorrow we will be visiting Armenia, because we’ve had an ongoing invitation from the Armenians”.

News of the visit was first reported by Politico. Pelosi declined to go into more detail, adding that members of Congress “don’t like to be a target” when they travel.

Speaking alongside Ukraine’s speaker of parliament, she added that Ukraine must win the war against Russia and that Russia must be held accountable for the conflict.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan blame each other for the renewed fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region – the deadliest clashes between them since a six-week war in 2020 left thousands dead.

The two sides have fought for decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but, until the war in 2020, populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Armenia says Azerbaijan’s forces this week attacked and seized settlements inside Armenia, beyond Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan says it was responding to “provocations” by the Armenian side.

A ceasefire, brokered by Moscow, ended the latest fighting late Wednesday night, but the situation on the border remains tense.

Russia, a military ally of Armenia which also strives for friendly relations with Azerbaijan, said it would pressure both countries to pull their forces back to where they were before this week’s conflict broke out.

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