House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a congressional delegation to Armenia this weekend intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to peace and democracy in the tumultuous region.
Mrs. Pelosi, who landed in the country on Saturday, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Armenia since its independence in 1991.
“Our congressional delegation’s visit to Armenia is a powerful symbol of the United States’ firm commitment to a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Armenia and a stable and secure Caucasus region,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a statement.
Mrs. Pelosi was joined by Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Jackie Speier of California, who lead the congressional caucus regarding Armenian issues. Rep. Anna Eshoo of California also joined.
The visit comes amid deadly border clashes this week between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a decades-long dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
At least 49 soldiers were killed in overnight shelling attacks, according to the Armenian Defense Ministry. Azerbaijan reported that 50 of its own service members also died in the conflict. Armenian civilian casualties remain unknown.
The violence led to concerns that the two nations could be on the verge of reigniting their conflict, but a senior Armenian official reassured that a truce had been agreed with Azerbaijan.
Mrs. Pelosi asserted that in the wake of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the trip came with increased urgency to address violence.
“It is the moral duty of all to never forget: an obligation that has taken on heightened urgency as atrocities are perpetuated around the globe, including by Russia against Ukraine,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Last year, President Biden became the first U.S. president to officially recognize the killing of millions of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I as a genocide.
Congress approved a resolution that would also recognize the genocide through an official remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 to 1923.
Mrs. Pelosi made another high-profile delegation trip earlier this year to Taiwan, becoming the first speaker to visit the country since Newt Gingrich in 1997.