Pelosi said that she and three other U.S. lawmakers met with Papikian late on Sunday to “convey America’s support for Armenia's security.”
“On behalf of the United States Congress, we condemned Azerbaijan’s attacks [on Armenia] and spoke about the need for peace and security,” she wrote on Twitter.
Pelosi similarly accused Azerbaijan of launching “illegal and deadly attacks on the Armenian territory” when she commented on last week’s large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border at a news conference held in Yerevan on Sunday morning.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry rejected her remarks as “baseless and unjust” and said they will add to lingering tensions in the conflict zone.
By contrast, Papikian praised Pelosi for condemning the “military aggression against Armenia.” He also thanked her for “quickly reacting to the situation” and visiting Armenia just days after the hostilities that left more than 200 soldiers from both sides dead.
In a statement, the Armenian Defense Ministry said that Papikian also discussed with the U.S. congressional delegation “a number of issues relating to defense cooperation between the two countries.” It did not give details.
Speaking at her news conference, Pelosi would not say whether the United States is ready to provide military assistance to Armenia. She said only that she and the pro-Armenian lawmakers accompanying her are now “listening to what the needs are.”
The U.S. State Department also appears to have also held Baku responsible for the fighting that broke out late on September 12. In a September 13 phone call, Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to “cease hostilities” and voiced serious concern over “reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia.”
Blinken again spoke with Aliyev by phone Sunday. According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, he urged Aliyev to “adhere to the ceasefire, disengage military forces, and work to resolve all outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan through peaceful negotiations.”
Pelosi’s trip to Armenia drew skepticism from Russia, which has long been the South Caucasus nation’s main ally.
Commenting on the House speaker’s statements made in Yerevan, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Everything that can contribute to the normalization of relations, the stabilization of the situation on the border not in words but in deeds, not in a loud and populist but quiet and businesslike way can be welcomed.”
“Can such loud actions and statements really contribute to this normalization? We’ll see, in time everything will become clear,” Peskov told journalists.
In recent days, Armenian leaders have criticized Russia for what they see as a lack of Russian military and political support provided to Armenia.