Hungarian lawmaker comments on prospects of restoring diplomatic relations with Armenia
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. 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.
ARMENPRESS: 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.