RESTORING TIES WITH ARMENIA A PRIORITY, HUNGARIAN FM SAYS
- Restoring relations with Armenia is a priority for Hungarian diplomacy, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told reporters, according to Politics.hu website.
Armenia decided to break diplomatic ties on August 31 after Hungary repatriated Azerbaijani national Ramil Sahib Safarov on the understanding that he would continue to serve the life sentence he received in February 2004 for murdering an Armenian.
Martonyi said at the background briefing: "What the prime minister decides is also a government decision. The decisions of the prime minister and the government coincide."
"For this reason, there is no use in arguing whether the government or the prime minister made the decision in Safarov's case," he said.
Otherwise it was normal for debates to take place within the government, he added.
Martonyi said he did not want to get into the discussion about which ministry or branch of state had proffered which standpoint in the affair.
In reply to question, he said there was no question of his resigning, adding that he remained loyal to the prime minister.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that he had approved the government's decision to hand over the Azeri axe murderer to his native Azerbaijan, and the ensuing events had not been unexpected. He added that "nothing happened after our decision we did not expect".
Safarov, a soldier, had served eight years of a life sentence for killing the Armenian officer during a NATO language course. He was transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan on August 31. On arrival in Baku, he was pardoned by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and and released. Armenia suspended diplomatic relations with Hungary later that day.
Martonyi said documents concerning the Safarov case had been made available.
He confirmed that he had requested Switzerland's help in mending relations between Hungary and Armenia.
"But it is not about mediating in the context of diplomacy; this is not what I have asked for at a meeting with my Swiss college," Martonyi said. He said that any sort of help was highly appreciated, noting the help the Armenian community living in Hungary had already offered.
He said he had asked his counterparts' help in settling the affair at an informal EU meeting last weekend and his experience had been that they had generally understood the situation and had been aware of the issue's "sensitive nature."
- 1854 The allies check the advance in Crimea during the Crimean War.
- 1915 Start of the battle of Mount Moossa (Sooetia, Western Armenia). The battle lasted forty days and resulted in the defeat of the Turkish forces sent to carry out the Genocide of the Armenians living there. Franz Werfel's novel ("The Forty Days of Moossa Dagh") is based on this event.
- 1934 The Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the Armenian SSR and the Council of the People's Committee create the People's Commissariat of Internal Trade.
- 1958 The Kotayk irrigation canal is operational.