Armenia seeks to have direct flights with Hungary, ambassador recaps President Khachaturyan’s visit

 09:56, 9 February 2024

BUDAPEST, FEBRUARY 9, ARMENPRESS. Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan’s official visit to Hungary was highly important for the bilateral relations between the two countries, according to Armenian Ambassador to Hungary Ashot Smbatyan.

Khachaturyan was in Hungary February 5-7. He was received by President Katalin Novak. 

Armenia and Hungary agreed to restore diplomatic relations in 2022, ten years after the ties were severed by the Serzh Sargsyan Administration after Budapest extradited Ramil Safarov, the convicted murderer of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, to Baku.

“President Vahagn Khachaturyan’s official visit will play an important role and will be significant for the relations of the two countries. I believe that with the Armenian President’s official visit, the Hungarian side signaled that the relations between the two countries should become stronger,” the Ambassador said.

Khachaturyan met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on February 7. He also met with Speaker of Parliament László Kövér. 

Smbatyan said that two agreements in the sector of education and culture were signed during the visit.

President Khachaturyan visited the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest.

The Armenian State Pedagogical University and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, which has a Department of Armenian Studies, signed an agreement on cooperation. Ambassador Smbatyan said that the Pázmány Péter Catholic University has plans on opening a Center of Hungarian Studies in the Armenian university, which was welcomed by the latter.

The Ambassador highlighted President Khachaturyan’s meeting with members of the Armenian community in Hungary. Hungary is one of the two countries in Europe where the Armenian community has a special role and status on a legislative level, the other being Romania.

“I think that historical commonalities are very deep, and the Armenians of Transylvania have a unique role in the history of Hungary, which Hungary values,” the Ambassador said.

Smbatyan noted that the Hungarian Wizz Air airline has a very active flight schedule in Armenia. The Armenian government is now working to achieve direct flights between Hungary and Armenia, furthermore not only from Budapest to Yerevan but also to Gyumri. “The Armenian side is now working in this direction. But of course, this depends on what decision the airline will make.” Direct flights between the two countries would boost tourism, he added.

Hungarian President Katalin Novák said at a joint press conference with Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan that Hungary plans to open a consulate in Yerevan. The Armenian Ambassador commended the announcement and said, “I think and I hope that there will be a corresponding step from the Armenian side as well.”

The Armenian Ambassador attached importance to Khachaturyan’s visit to Hungary also in terms of developing ties with the EU, given that Budapest will assume the EU presidency on July 1, 2024.

“President Khachaturyan, during the joint press conference, invited the President of Hungary to visit Armenia, and the Hungarian side accepted the invitation. I think that this year we will also see Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s official visit to Hungary,” the Ambassador said, adding that the Hungarian Speaker of Parliament has invited his Armenian counterpart to pay a visit.

“These bilateral, high-level visits will definitely have a significant role in deepening the relations between the two countries,” Ambassador Smbatyan said.