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Azerbaijan condemned US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday for saying Baku sparked a border dispute with Armenia during her visit to Yerevan. Pelosi’s remarks that Azerbaijan had carried out an “illegal” att*ck on Armenia’s sovereignty were “unfounded and unjust” and dealt a serious blow to peace efforts, Azerbaijan said.

“The unfounded and unjust accusations made by Pelosi against Azerbaijan are unacceptable,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Pelosi is known as a pro-Armenian politician,” the statement added.

“This is a serious blow to efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Azerbaijan repeated its position that the recent fighting was the result of “large-scale military provocation” by Armenia, a narrative denied by Yerevan.

Earlier on Sunday, Pelosi condemned what she described as an “illegal” att*ck by Azerbaijan on Armenia that sparked the worst fighting since their 2020 war.

Baku and Yerevan have accused each other of being behind Tuesday’s border clashes, which claimed the lives of more than 200 people.

“We strongly condemn these att*cks – on behalf of Congress – which threaten (the) prospects for the much-needed peace agreement,” Pelosi told a press conference in Yerevan.

“Armenia has special significance for us because of the security focus following an illegal and deadly att*ck by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory.”

Pelosi said the att*ck was an “att*ck on (the) sovereignty of Armenia”.

Hostilities between sworn enemies in the Caucasus ended Thursday night thanks to US mediation, Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan said.

Previous attempts by Russia to negotiate a truce have failed.

“We are grateful to the United States for the fragile ceasefire agreement reached through their mediation,” he told a press conference alongside Pelosi.

Simonyan thanked the United States for the “targeted assessment (sic) of Azerbaijan’s war actions”.

Top US official visits Armenia

Pelosi, who arrived in Yerevan on Saturday for a three-day visit, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Armenia since the tiny nation gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars – in the 1990s and in 2020 – over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan.

Along with France and Russia, the United States co-chairs the Minsk Group of Mediators, which for decades led peace talks between Baku and Yerevan under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Analysts said the recent fighting has largely undone Western efforts to bring Baku and Yerevan closer to a peace deal.

The six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 soldiers on both sides and ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

As part of the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades and Moscow deployed around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh split from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict left an estimated 30,000 dead.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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