Armenia and Hungary Committed to Rebuilding Relations

Hungary Today
Oct 27 2023
MTI-Hungary Today 2023.10.27.

Hungary remains committed to rebuilding relations with Armenia, and after a ten-year diplomatic hiatus, the parties are working to establish cooperation that serves the interests of both nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Yerevan on Friday.

At a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, the minister stressed that this visit “marks the end of a long journey,” as there had been no diplomatic relations between the two countries for ten years. He recalled that last year, the two sides decided to normalize relations.

He said that the strong common ground of Christianity is a great help in this, as both Hungary and Armenia have a long Christian heritage. He added that the Armenian Christian Church has played an important role in rebuilding the relationship.

he said.

He also stressed that the government had provided 116 million forints (EUR 300,000) in aid to families resettling from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and 100,000 doses of vaccines during the coronavirus epidemic. “Hungary remains committed to rebuilding these links,” he said.

As a sign of this, he said, another 40 million forints (EUR 90,000) will be provided to families moving from Nagorno-Karabakh, and Hungary is ready to participate in the medical treatment of the resettled families and to offer summer camps for the children of the affected families next year.

Szijjártó also announced that a cooperation agreement on higher education will be signed, allowing thirty Armenians to study at Hungarian universities on scholarships every year. He also touched on the Armenian minority in Hungary, stressing that the budget support for the community has been increased fourfold over the last thirteen years. He said that he had asked his Armenian counterpart to authorize the establishment of a Hungarian consular representation in Yerevan.
He said that the government would encourage WizzAir to add Budapest as a destination for flights from Yerevan. “Then the direct link could really be physically established. I think that after ten years, this is not a bad step forward for a meeting,” he said.

The minister also underlined that the Caucasus is extremely important for Europe, both because of its proximity and because the region can help to overcome the continent’s energy crisis, and there is a realistic possibility of obtaining new resources from there.
“This is precisely why we Hungarians want Azerbaijan and Armenia to be able to sign a peace agreement as soon as possible, which will then guarantee that people in this region can live in peace and tranquillity for the next decades, and which will enable the next years and decades to be about peaceful economic development in the region,” he said.

The relationship between Hungary and Armenia was severely damaged when in 2004, an Azerbaijani army officer, Ramil Safarov, had murdered his Armenian colleague stationed in the same dormitory while both taking place in an education program in Budapest. During his trial at a Hungarian court, Safarov’s Azerbaijani defender had argued that in their native country, killing an Armenian does not count as a crime. The perpetrator was eventually sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In 2012, on the basis of a bilateral agreement, Safarov was allowed back home with the Azeri authorities’ promise that he would serve the rest of his sentence in a domestic prison. On his return, however, President Ilham Aliyev had granted Safarov immediate mercy. In a reaction to this, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan then announced that his country would sever all diplomatic and official relations with Hungary.