Restoring relations after 10 years: Hungarian Foreign Minister’s visit to Yerevan

Oct 27 2023
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Armenia

“I asked [the Armenian Foreign Minister] to allow us to open a Hungarian consulate in Yerevan,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoyan.

This is the first visit of the Hungarian Foreign Minister to Armenia after the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Szijjártó said that his visit is intended to “put an end to a whole decade when there were no diplomatic ties between the two countries.”

Diplomatic relations with Hungary were interrupted on August 31, 2012 by the decision of the National Security Council of Armenia over Budapest’s decision to extradite Ramil Safarov, convicted for life for the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, to Baku. In 2004, Safarov killed a sleeping Margaryan, with whom he had participated in a NATO Partnership for Peace program course in Budapest.

In late December 2021, through Hungarian mediation, Azerbaijan agreed to return five Armenian captives to their homeland. On December 1, 2022, within the framework of the OSCE Ministerial Conference in Lodz, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Hungary met and agreed to restore diplomatic relations.

It is reported that in Yerevan the ministers agreed to take practical steps to intensify political dialogue, potential cooperation in economy, promote possible investments.

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The Hungarian Foreign Minister considers it expedient to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan as soon as possible:

“This will guarantee that people in the region will live peacefully and calmly in the years to come. All inhabitants of the region deserve peace and tranquility after decades of suffering”.

According to Péter Szijjártó, Hungary is a supporter of peaceful resolution of conflicts, so it is in favor of a peaceful settlement in the Caucasus region as well.

The Hungarian minister assured that his country intends to maximize relations with Armenia from now on:

“As a manifestation, a confirmation of this, we will provide another 40 million forints [more than 110 thousand dollars] to support families who moved to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh. If necessary, Hungary is ready to participate in the treatment of these people. Both Hungarian medical institutions and children’s camps will receive children from Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Cabinet of Ministers has expanded the list of those who will be able to receive a one-time financial aid of $250. The government will also compensate the rent and utility costs of the newcomers

The Armenian Foreign Minister stated Budapest’s readiness to support the protection of Armenian cultural and historical monuments in NK. Ararat Mirzoyan thanked his colleague for this:

“He sincerely expressed his willingness to intervene and contribute to this important endeavor by ensuring the preservation of Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage. After the forced deportation of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, the issue of the Armenian cultural and spiritual heritage became even more acute.”

Mirzoyan recalled that Armenia had previously applied to UNESCO and there was even a decision to send the organization’s mission to NK:

“But due to numerous obstacles from Azerbaijan, this visit has not yet taken place. Now this mission is even more needed. The work on organizing the visit continues”.

Does Hungary support Armenia’s participation in the Black Sea Submarine Electric Cable project? Answering this question, the Hungarian Foreign Minister expressed hope that the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program will accelerate Armenia’s involvement in the EU projects and strengthen cooperation.

A joint statement by the Armenian Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission on October 5 said that the Commission will support Armenia’s participation in regional projects such as the Black Sea Submarine Electric Cable.