LODZ, Poland (Azatutyun) — Armenia and Hungary officially agreed on December 1 to restore their diplomatic relations frozen by Yerevan a decade ago.
Armenia’s former leadership cut those ties in 2012 after the Hungarian government controversially 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 from Baku that Safarov would serve the rest of his life sentence in an Azerbaijani prison. Yerevan dismissed that explanation.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had traveled to Baku and met with Aliyev two months before Safarov’s release. Orban has long maintained a warm relationship with the Azerbaijani leader.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto announced their governments’ decision to restore diplomatic ties after meeting on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial conference held in the Polish city of Lodz.
In a joint statement, they said the move will “open a new page in Armenian-Hungarian relations.” They noted the “common Christian heritage” of the Armenian and Hungarian peoples.