“We are against the invasion of Armenia’s sovereign territory and are demanding that Azerbaijan return to initial positions,” Representative David Price said after talks with Armenian lawmakers.
Price, who heads the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), a bipartisan commission of the House of Representatives, was reported to make the same point when he and members of his delegation met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian earlier in the day.
The North Carolina Democrat referred to the September 13-14 fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that left at least 290 soldiers from both sides dead. Azerbaijani troops attacked and seized Armenian army positions at several sections of the long frontier.
The U.S. State Department publicly urged Azerbaijan on September 26 to “return troops to their initial positions.” Baku denies occupying any Armenian territory.
Visiting Armenia on September 18, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, condemned Azerbaijan’s “illegal and deadly attacks on the Armenian territory.”
Pelosi and pro-Armenian U.S. lawmakers accompanying her also fuelled speculation about U.S. military assistance to Armenia by holding a separate meeting in Yerevan with Defense Minister Suren Papikian.
Speaking at a news conference, Price would not be drawn on prospects for closer U.S.-Armenian military cooperation. But he did speak of a changing balance of forces in the region resulting from “events connected with Russia.”
According to an Armenian government statement, Pashinian discussed with the delegation led by Price the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and “processes taking in the region.”
Eduard Aghajanian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, said security challenges facing Armenia were also high on the agenda of the U.S. lawmakers’ talks with their Armenian colleagues.
“We had a quite substantive and important conversation with our colleagues,” Aghajanian told reporters. He did not go into details.
Opposition deputies boycotting sessions of the Armenian parliament also met with the Congressional delegation. One of them, Armen Rustamian, said they voiced concerns over recent Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations mediated by the United States and the European Union.
Rustamian complained that the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination is not part of the “the so-called peace process.”