YEREVAN — The Hungarian government intends to open a consulate in Yerevan as the two countries try to mend estranged ties.
“I have requested permission to open a consulate in Yerevan,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Friday on an official visit to Armenia.
Armenia froze diplomatic relations with Hungary in 2012 after Hungarian authorities extradited to Azerbaijan an Azerbaijani army officer who hacked to death a sleeping Armenian colleague in Budapest in 2004. The officer, Ramil Safarov, whom a Hungarian court sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006, was pardoned, rewarded and promoted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on his return to Azerbaijan.
The Hungarian government claimed to have received prior assurances by Baku that Safarov would serve the rest of his life sentence in an Azerbaijani prison. Yerevan dismissed that explanation.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto reached an agreement to that effect when they met in Poland in December 2022. Yerevan and Budapest appointed non-resident ambassadors to each other’s country earlier this year.
The Armenian government decided to restore the diplomatic ties last year even though Hungary never apologized for Safarov’s release and continued to support Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict.
Visiting Yerevan, Szijjarto emphasized the “Christian heritage and Christian faith” shared by the two nations.
“This is the easiest foundation based on which we can rebuild this relationship,” he told Mirzoyan at the start of their talks. He also voiced support for Armenia’s efforts to deepen ties with the EU.