LOS ANGELES - Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, will visit Armenia this weekend in a show of support to the country after Azerbaijani forces attacked Tuesday.
A ceasefire deal was reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan Thursday following two days of fighting that killed 176 soldiers from both sides.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is expected to travel with Pelosi after a stop in Berlin for the G-7 Speakers’ Summit. Speier, who represent the San Francisco area, is of Armenian descent.
Pelosi is expected to meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in the capital city of Yerevan.
On the eve of her visit, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) sent a letter to Pelosi urging her to immediately stop sending US taxpayer money to Azerbaijan, which is aiding their military and weapons used to fight against Armenia.
According to a budget analysis compiled by the Security Assistance Monitor, the United States has sent over $100 million in aid to Azerbaijan between the years of 2018 and 2019. In comparison, the US sent Armenia $11 million during the 2018-2019 fiscal years.
"The urgency of our request is underscored by the brutal 44-day war and ethnic-cleansing campaign that Azerbaijan launched in 2020 against Artsakh and, more recently, by the renewed attack into the Republic of Armenia over the past week. In the wake of this aggression, Congress must stop shipping US tax dollars to Azerbaijani President Aliyev's armed forces," the statement from the ANCA read.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who represents Burbank, has also asked the US Congress to cut off US financial aid to Azerbaijan.
"There is no reason for the US to be supporting a country that is unilaterally making war on its neighbor, on a democratic neighbor, an alley," Schiff told FOX 11. "This was all Azerbaijan, unprovoked attack on Armenia. I think Azerbaijan believes that Russia and the rest of the world may be distracted with the war in Ukraine and they can get away with this and we have to show that the United States is not distracted."
Schiff introduced a bill, along with the co-chairs of the Armenian Caucus, that would cut off funding to Azerbaijan.
The recent attacks come nearly two years after Azerbaijan launched a full-scale attack on the Republic of Artsakh ( Nagorno-Karabakh) starting a six-week war that killed more than 6,600 people. The war ended with a Russian-brokered peace deal. But despite the ceasefire, shelling from Azerbaijan has continued. According to the Armenian National Committee of America, Azerbaijani forces routinely terrorize civilians in Armenia, and have set up checkpoints along major transit routes - disrupting international trade, and freedom of movement within Armenia.
What makes the Sept. 13 attack different is that Azerbaijani forces invaded within the borders of Armenia.
"It’s important to note that this is distinct from the conflict within Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). This is now within the borders of Armenian territory, an increased escalation from the Azerbaijani side," said Alex Galitsky, Program Director of the ANCA.