“The US is ready to help, but the decision is up to Armenia”: Nancy Pelosi in Yerevan
Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Armenia
“The US will continue to help Armenia and oppose a change of its borders. But the decision must be made by Armenia, and if it is accepted, the United States is ready to help,” Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference in Yerevan.
The visit takes place at a difficult time for Armenia, when the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have invaded the sovereign territory of the country. Strategic ally Russia and partners in the CSTO military bloc refuse to provide Armenia assistance. The speaker of the Armenian parliament during a joint press conference thanked the United States for mediation, “as a result of which a fragile ceasefire agreement had been reached.”
The delegation headed by Pelosi arrived in Armenia on September 17 for a two-day visit. It is reported that during the meetings “Armenian-American relations and the current security situation” will be discussed. On the morning of September 18, Nancy Pelosi met with NA Speaker Alen Simonyan, and a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is expected.
Armenian analysts approve of Pelosi’s visit, but at the same time say one should not have inflated “pro-American” expectations.
Abstracts of the Pelosi-Simonian press conference, details about the visit, and comments from local analysts.
- “Not a single millimeter of Armenian territory is up for debate” – Pashinyan
- “Everything depends on Moscow and Baku” – the opinion of an Armenian political scientist on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh
- “Difficult decisions” for Pashinyan spark protests in Armenia
Nancy Pelosi is the third most important US official in her position. This is her first visit to Armenia. It was planned before the start of hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The Armenian authorities thanked her for not canceling it. Visits to other countries in the South Caucasus are not planned.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is accompanied by Chairman of the US House Committee on Energy and Commercial Affairs Frank Pallone, members of the House of Representatives Anna Eshu and Jackie Jackie Speyer. Eshu and Speyer are of Armenian descent and have been “advancing the interests of Armenia” for many years, according to Pelosi’s office.
Abstracts of the Pelosi-Simonian press conference
● The US confirms that the independence and sovereignty of Armenia are under attack by Azerbaijan.
● The US Congress has already drafted a resolution condemning this aggression.
● The US will continue to help Armenia and oppose a change of its borders. The decision must be made by Armenia, but the US will back it up.
● “We are here to find out what we can do, including on defense cooperation.”
● Azerbaijan’s actions against the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, vandalism against historical monuments are at the center of our attention.
● The United States, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, continues to insist that there is no military solution to the Karabakh conflict, but only a peaceful, political and lasting solution.
● Pelosi’s visit to Armenia is extremely important during this difficult period.
● We are grateful to the American authorities for their mediation, which has achieved a fragile ceasefire agreement.
● We are also grateful to the US government for their concrete assessment of Azerbaijan’s military actions.
● Any US assistance is vital to Armenia’s statehood. We believe that sanctions against Azerbaijan could be a brake on the expansion of this country.
Armenia expects to receive “security guarantees”
On the eve of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Armenia, the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament announced on Public Television that she would be coming to Yerevan at his invitation.
“This is the result of the work of our ambassador to the United States and the political team; it is also a reflection of the level of democracy that exists in Armenia,” the speaker stated.
Answering a question about the expectations of the Armenian authorities from Pelosi’s visit, Simonian said that the country expects “the maximum possible security guarantees” from all its partners, since this is now the main problem.
“We must choose democracy again” – Pelosi’s first post from Yerevan
An hour after arriving in Armenia, Nancy Pelosi published a post on Twitter in which she ranked Armenia among democratic states in need of protection from authoritarian regimes:
“The Founding Fathers of the United States chose democracy over authoritarianism in 1787, on Constitution Day. From generation to generation we have defended this choice. Today, from the United States to Ukraine, Taiwan and Armenia, the world faces a choice between democracy and authoritarianism. And we must choose democracy again.”
“Peaceful, prosperous and democratic Armenia” – the purposes of the visit
“The Congressional delegation’s visit to Armenia is a powerful symbol of the United States’ unwavering determination to have a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Armenia and a stable and peaceful Caucasus region,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement.
The speaker of the House of Representatives drew parallels between the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the century and current events in the region, also mentioning the war in Ukraine:
“Everyone has a moral duty to never forget, a duty that has become even more pressing when atrocities are being committed around the world, including by Russia against Ukraine.”
Regarding the upcoming meetings in Yerevan, Pelosi said that she also intends to express “the continued support of the United States as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group and a longtime friend of Armenia in resolving the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
"Armenia is breaking free of Russia's clutches." Opinion
“The process Armenia’s liberation from the Russian Federation has begun. And it cannot happen without the support of the West,” political analyst Hovsep Khurshudyan maintains, concerning the working trips of two Armenian ministers – one to Russia, the other to the United States.
According to the head of the Armenian Center for American Studies Suren Sargsyan, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Armenia is extremely important, as it is
- the highest-ranking American official ever to visit Armenia,
- one of the most powerful politicians in America and a member of President Joe Biden’s team.
“There will be elections in the US in November, and the Democrats need the votes of Armenians. However, it should be borne in mind that Pelosi is one of the best friends of Armenians in Congress, and she also has a personal motive for coming to Armenia,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
The expert believes, regardless of the purpose of the visit, this visit of great diplomatic significance to the country, and still more important is how the government will use this opportunity:
“Especially in the context of aggression against Armenia we can show the world that this is actually a message from the political leadership of the United States, addressed not only to Armenia, but also to the leadership of Azerbaijan. We can show the world that Armenia is indeed in the spotlight of global players, including the US.”
According to political observer Hakob Badalyan, it is necessary to turn Pelosi’s visit into a point of convergence in Armenian-American relations, in order to make them more substantive. But at the same time, he advises not to forget that Pelosi came not to solve Armenia’s problems, but to further the tasks of her country.
Badalyan says that Pelosi can certainly be useful in solving Armenia’s problems, but this depends on the political maturity and seriousness of official Yerevan.
According to the expert, Armenian-American relations “should be protected” from inflated, “pro-American” expectations.
He says that they may even harm the real prospect of this relationship, which require work and a “lack of unnecessary noise”:
“The United States is a superpower that has its own interest not only in relation to us, but also on a number of sensitive issues for us, in which is there is an imperfect overlap of interests. And this is completely normal, we just need to be able to take all this into account and develop our own agenda and further steps.”
According to Badalyan, efforts must be made to ensure that Armenian-American relations remain “in line with sober and realistic discussions.”
Badalyan believes that the visit would be of practical use if Pelosi made concrete statements in Armenia. For example, that the American authorities will initiate a draft of sanctions against Baku if Azerbaijan does not return to its original positions on the border, which it held before September 13, as soon as possible.
“The fact that we should have no expectations of the anti-allies called Russia and the CSTO is clear to all of us, to many even ten years ago. Now we need to understand what degree of practicality the alternatives possess,” Badalyan writes.
Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Armenia