Hungary ready to restore diplomatic relations with Armenia anytime: Ambassador

Gita Elibekyan, Siranush Ghazanchyan
Public Radio of Armenia

Hungary is ready to restore relations with Armenia anytime, Hungary’s Ambassador to Georgia Sandor Szabo said in an exclusive interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

Armenia suspended the diplomatic relations with Hungary in August 2012 after the extradition of Azerbaijani Ramil Safarov, who axed Armenian Officer Gurgen Margaryan during NATO courses in Budapest.

The Ambassador noted that immediately after the suspension, his government took steps on the level of the Foreign Minister to reestablish diplomatic relations. “Unfortunately, these steps were not successful, but we should never give up,” the Ambassador said. He’s hopeful the issue will be solved very soon through diplomatic channels, through negotiations.

Mr. Szabo said both sides should take steps to mend ties, because the solution of the issue is the task of the two parties.

Armenian Foreign Minister said recently that Armenia is ready to restore diplomatic relations with Hungary, but expects Budapest to make the first step.

“He’s right that the Armenian side is waiting for Hungary’s steps, but as I told you, the Hungarian side has taken those steps, and not only once. Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi sent a letter to his Armenian counterpart soon after the known events. Besides, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary sent a note verbale to the Armenian Foreign Ministry to express our willingness to reestablish diplomatic relations. But unfortunately, there has been no progress so far.”

“We think these steps on the Foreign Minister’s level should find a positive response from your country,” the Ambassador said.

Asked whether it’s possible for Hungary to recognize the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Mr. Szabo said the issue is not on the agenda, not only in Hungary, but also in many other countries. “Hungary is not late, as Armenia has not recognized the independence of Nagorno Karabakh yet,” he said.

After years of negotiating the Association Agreement with the European Union, Armenia declared on September 3, 2013 about the intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“It was not easy for my country, as the supporter of the Eastern Partnership Project, to absorb this information, because we had supported Armenia, Georgia and Moldova on this path,” the Ambassador said.

“After the Vilnius Summit and after the Ukraine events, Armenia and the EU started some consultations to find a way out of this situation, to save the Association Agreement, but as far as I know, there have been no concrete results so far,” Amb. Szabo said.

“Armenia and EU have done a lot of work in the recent years,” he said, voicing hope that the sides will find a way to save this value. “It is a question of the future,” he added.

Sandor Szabo hopes to visit Armenia one day not only as a Hungarian citizen, but also in his capacity as a Hungarian Ambassador to meet people and to start the cooperation planned two years ago, when he presented his credentials to the Armenian President. “It is my wish,” he concluded.

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