Hungary’s stance highly important in terms of strengthening Armenia-EU ties, says Deputy FM


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 12, ARMENPRESS. The diplomatic relations between Armenia and Hungary are now fully restored after President Vahagn Khachaturyan’s official visit to Hungary on February 5-7, Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan has said.

“We didn’t have any high-level visits to Hungary for more than eleven years, and with this visit, we can say that the Armenian-Hungarian diplomatic relations are fully restored,” Hovhannisyan told Armenpress, describing the trip as comprehensive.

“I’d like to mention the importance which we attach to this in terms of partnership with the EU. Hungary will assume the EU presidency in July, and from this perspective Hungary’s stance is very important in terms of deepening and enhancing our partnership with the EU. Besides, a number of important sectoral cooperation directions were discussed,” Hovhannisyan said, pointing out the talks involving Healthcare Minister Anahit Avanesyan, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Artur Martirosyan with their counterparts, as well as discussions with lawmakers.

The Deputy FM said that given the Hungarian side’s interest, Armenia presented the Crossroads of Peace project.

“Hungary attaches importance to energy and transport projects in the South Caucasus, not only with Armenia but also with our neighboring countries. I think that all these issues were important for us and the visit served its goal,” Hovhannisyan said.

Hovhannisyan said that the Hungarian side regrets for what happened in the past and has done several steps to restore the diplomatic relations.

“Hungary provided support to the Gurgen Margaryan School, supported in the issue of release of prisoners of war, sent humanitarian aid during the pandemic. All of this shows that the Hungarian side regrets for the pain caused in the past and tries to restore the relations based on the existing rich historical ties. Hungary is home to one of the oldest Armenian communities. The Armenian community in Hungary enjoys a number of privileges: they have representation in parliament, and the Armenian church in Budapest has been restored. Hungary’s very sensitive approach towards Christian minorities also matches our approaches. All of this created the grounds to believe that there was a sincere desire to overcome that painful chapter and move forward,” Hovhannisyan said.

Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Hungary were severed in 2012 by then-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan after Hungary extradited Ramil Safarov, the convicted murderer of an Armenian officer, to Azerbaijan. Armenian military officer Lt. Gurgen Margaryan was murdered by Azerbaijani military officer Ramil Safarov during a February 2004 training course organized by NATO in Hungary. Gurgen Margaryan was asleep in his room when Safarov attacked him with an axe. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Hungarian court. However, in 2012 Hungary extradited Safarov to Azerbaijan upon Baku’s request, where he was pardoned.  On the same day, then-President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan severed diplomatic relations with Hungary.

10 years later, in 2022, Armenia and Hungary to restore diplomatic relations.