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Hungarian lawmaker comments on prospects of restoring diplomatic relations with Armenia

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Hungarian Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the Republic of Armenia at the Hungarian Parliament Mihaly Balla commented on the prospects of normalization of relations between Armenia and Hungary and possible directions for cooperation.

In an interview with ARMENPRESS, the Hungarian MP said he believes that at this stage, cooperation aimed at the fostering direct people-to people contacts between the two peoples can be particularly effective, with special focus on education and culture in this context. MP Balla also pointed out the economy and tourism for possibilities of cooperation.

On December 2, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Hungary made a statement about restoring full diplomatic relations. How do you see the prospects for the development of relations between two countries?

Mihaly Balla: There are historical and cultural ties between the Armenian and Hungarian peoples that are reflected by the presence of the Armenian community and the Armenian cultural heritage in Hungary. The Armenians living in Hungary historically contributed to the development of Hungary, and today they are part of the Hungarian society with special status enshrined in the Constitution of Hungary.

I am glad that quite recently, a parliamentary friendship group with Armenia was formed in our Parliament under my chairmanship. This honorable task is also important to me for personal reasons.

Notably, the parliamentary representative of the Armenian minority of Hungary is also the member of this group. I hope that similar friendship group will be formed in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia.

I am convinced that the parliamentary diplomacy and regular contacts can also contribute to the gradual improvement and development of bilateral relations. In my opinion, we have such a potential, and today, with the meeting and the joint statement of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Hungary, a new page can be opened in our bilateral relations. It is our responsibility to do our best to use these new opportunities.

ARMENPRESS: Despite this dynamic, there are still negative memories in Armenian society. What is your approach to this matter?

Mihaly Balla: As representatives of Hungary, at different levels and formats we have constantly expressed our deep regret and pain regarding the brutal murder of Armenian soldier Gurgen Margaryan. What happened then was unacceptable in all aspects for all of us, and we realize that time is required to heal these wounds. However, today we must look forward and take necessary steps towards the rapprochement of our societies and gradual development of interstate relations.

I believe that restoration of relations and creation of multidimensional agenda will pave the way to address all the issues between our two peoples and we can revive the historical and cultural relations between our countries.

ARMENPRESS: What are the initial directions that the Hungarian Government is considering to cooperate with Armenia?

Mihaly Balla: I believe that at this stage, cooperation aimed at the fostering direct human contacts between the two peoples can be particularly effective. In this context, the cooperation opportunities in the fields of education and culture can be considered primarily.

I also see opportunities in the fields of economy and tourism, as well as in the context of establishment of inter-parliamentary contacts. A special role can be given to ecumenical contacts between our Churches.

 

The article was written by Lala Hayrapetyan and Tatevik Muradyan (2022-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000080624)

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Meeting of the Foreign Minister of Armenia with the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary

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On May 6, within the framework of the official visit to Hungary, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan had a meeting with István Jakab, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary.

The interlocutors discussed the prospects for the development of the bilateral agenda. The role and expectations from the inter-parliamentary engagements and the importance of implementing initiatives through friendship groups operating in both parliaments were emphasized.

Minister Mirzoyan highlighted that on the path initiated for the restoration of diplomatic relations and as a result of recent discussions, it is noticeable that both sides have a determination to give a significant impetus to bilateral ties, which are based on historical and civilizational commonalities.

Both sides emphasized the existing interest in discovering new directions through high-level mutual visits, joint initiatives, and discussed future plans.

Special attention was paid to issues of deepening people-to-people contacts in the field of culture, science and education, the launch of Yerevan-Budapest direct flights, as well as the implementation of the “Stipendium Hungaricum” scholarship program. The care of the Hungarian people and the Hungarian Government towards the Armenian community, which is officially recognized as a national minority in Hungary, was also mentioned as evidence of the strong ties between the two peoples.

Ararat Mirzoyan and István Jakab also exchanged views on regional security issues. Minister Mirzoyan presented the vision of Armenia in achieving stable peace in the South Caucasus, the existing challenges and efforts to overcome them.

Article: Grigor Muradyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

Photos posted: Syuzanna Hakobyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

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Meeting of the Foreign Minister of Armenia with the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary

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On May 6, within the framework of the official visit to Hungary, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan had a meeting with Zsolt Semjén, the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary.

The interlocutors exchanged views on the possibilities of developing the bilateral agenda after the diplomatic relations have been restored, and on regional issues.

The sides noted that the official visit of Ararat Mirzoyan, a visit at the level of the Minister of Foreign Affairs takes place after a fifteen-year break, expressing hope that the recent dynamics and high-level mutual visits will give a new impetus to the development of relations and multi-sector agenda. “There is still a great unrealized potential both in terms of political dialogue and especially in terms of economic ties, and there is a willingness to take steps to reach continuous results,” added Ararat Mirzoyan.

The prospects of cooperation between the respective structures of the two countries in various fields were thoroughly discussed. Special attention was paid to the prospects of the development of cooperation in education, people-to-people contacts and cultural tourism, which can be significantly facilitated by the launch of Yerevan-Budapest direct flights. Recalling the existence of the Department of Armenian Studies at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, as well as the memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries in 2023-2024, Minister Mirzoyan stressed the importance of implementation of the experience and student exchanges, as well as scholarship programs.

The special attention paid by Hungary to the protection of historical and cultural heritage and the steps taken in this direction were touched upon.

The Foreign Minister of Armenia and the Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary exchanged views on the issues of cooperation on the EU platform, taking into account Hungary’s upcoming Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the year. Minister Mirzoyan expressed hope that with joint efforts it will be possible to implement all the projects outlined in the new Armenia-EU partnership agenda.

Touching upon Armenia’s vision of achieving lasting peace in the South Caucasus, Minister Mirzoyan briefed on the ongoing peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including the developments in the delimitation process, emphasizing the key principles of territorial integrity, recognition of borders and their inviolability.

In the context of the development of regional economic interconnectivity, Minister Mirzoyan presented to the interlocutor the “Crossroads of Peace” project developed by the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the opportunities provided by it.

Article: Grigor Muradyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

Photos posted: Syuzanna Hakobyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

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Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Hungary

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On May 6, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, who is in Hungary on an official visit, had a meeting with Péter Szijjártó, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

The tête-à-tête meeting of the Ministers took place and was followed with the discussions in an enlarged format.

After the meeting, Ararat Mirzoyan and Péter Szijjártó signed the following documents:

  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Government of Hungary on economic cooperation,
  • Cooperation programme between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary for the years 2024-2025.

At the end of the discussions, the Ministers held a joint press conference, answering the questions of journalists.

Article: Grigor Muradyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

Photos posted: Syuzanna Hakobyan Project code: 2023-1-HU01-ESC51-VTJ-000146422

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