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Armenia snubs Hungary’s fresh request for restored ties

Armenia snubs Hungary’s fresh request for restored ties

Armenia has again refused to resume diplomatic relations with Hungary that it suspended unilaterally last month over a controversial extradition of an Azerbaijani killer by authorities in Budapest.

A note addressed to the Armenian Foreign Ministry by Hungarian counterparts earlier this week says Budapest wants to have restored diplomatic relations with Armenia “without preconditions”.

“The diplomatic note expresses the interest of the Government of Hungary to end the unilateral suspension of diplomatic relations by the Republic of Armenia without preconditions. The diplomatic note is a formal answer to the communication in which Armenia informed Hungary about the suspension of the diplomatic relations August 31, 2012,” says the statement posted on the Hungarian government’s website.

This is the second time official Budapest has sought renewed ties with Yerevan after authorities in the South Caucasus state unilaterally severed them on August 31, the day when Hungary handed over to Azerbaijan Ramil Safarov, an Azerbaijani army officer who served a life sentence in a Hungarian jail for killing an Armenian fellow student during a NATO course in 2004.

Once at home Safarov was pardoned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and promoted to the rank of a major. Besides angering Armenia, the extradition and subsequent decisions in Azerbaijan also drew a wide chorus of international criticism, including from leading Western democracies and organizations.

In his comments to the state-run news agency Armenpress on Wednesday Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan in essence repeated the position that official Yerevan already expressed earlier this month.

The Armenian side’s position remains unchanged, said Balayan. Armenia expects ‘practical steps’ from Hungary, the spokesman added without elaborating.

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