After controversial Taiwan trip, the top House Democrat is reportedly headed to Yerevan
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow California Democrat Jackie Speier will visit Armenia this weekend in a show of support for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Politico reported on Thursday citing sources familiar with the matter. The congressional visit comes shortly after border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia resulted in over 170 deaths.
Pelosi is already in Germany, where she is attending the G7 Speakers’ Summit in Berlin in support of “Ukraine’s heroic fight” against Russia. According to Politico, she will fly out to Yerevan after the conference with Speier, who is Armenian-American.
Speier’s office has not commented on the report, while Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told Politico they “don’t confirm or deny international travel in advance due to longstanding security protocols.”
Pelosi’s previous foreign trip was to Taipei in early August, undertaken against explicit warnings from Beijing. It inflamed tensions between the US and China over the status of Taiwan.
Armenia blamed Azerbaijan for launching artillery and drone strikes across the border early on Tuesday. Dozens of soldiers on both sides were killed in the ensuing firefight. After Yerevan sought help from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), of which Armenia is a member, Azerbaijan proposed a “humanitarian ceasefire.”
The substantial Armenian diaspora in the US has called on Washington to support Yerevan.
“Armenia has not received the kind of attention Ukraine has received, and this will shine a light on a country crossing an international border in violation of international law,” Anthony Barsamian, co-chair of the Armenian Assembly of America, told Politico about Pelosi’s reported visit.
Tensions between the two neighbors have been running high over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Yerevan has supported the independence of the region, mostly populated by ethnic Armenians, ever since it broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.
In 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended up with a Russian-brokered truce. In August, Baku demanded “demilitarization” of the region, while Yerevan accused it of attempting to cut the road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia proper.