The government of Azerbaijan has spent the last eight years trying to convince Budapest to release from its custody Ramil Safarov, an Azeri soldier who in 2004 murdered his Armenian roommate in Budapest, purely out of hate for Armenia. Ferenc Gyurcsány, Hungary’s former socialist prime minister, denied repeated requests from Baku, as he was not convinced that the Azeri counterparts would honour their end of the deal, by ensuring that Safarov remains in custody to serve his life sentence. Current Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was much less circumspect than his predecessor, and seemingly had no qualms releasing the axe murderer to Azerbaijan on August 31st, 2012, where fans greeted him as a hero and where he received a presidential pardon, only to be released immediately upon arrival. The Canadian Hungarian Journal contacted Armenian Ambassador Armen Yeganian, in Ottawa, and the diplomat did not mince his words when expressing his outrage at Hungary’s careless handling of this situation.
Does the Armenian government expect that its diaspora communities (including those in Canada) will likely protest Safarov’s transfer to Azerbaijan by Hungarian authorities and is this an issue which has really captured the interest of Armenians living abroad?
We are all terribly outraged about this deal. These kinds of grave political, diplomatic mistakes happen very rarely in our history. This issue really captured the interest of Armenians living abroad. Yes, the President of the Republic of Armenia said, that “our people abroad ought to speak out on this”. Armenian communities around the world, and particularly here in Canada, are very good citizens of their host counties, but at the same time are very dedicated Armenians.
We understand that this has caused serious consternation for the Armenian government and we, along with many other newspapers and individuals in Hungary and in Hungarian communities abroad, were both surprised and deeply disturbed to witness such careless, unethical and irresponsible behaviour on the part of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government. What can Hungarian authorities do to make amends and help restore the diplomatic ties between Hungary and Armenia?
It is up to Hungarian authorities to find out how to repair the damaged relations with Armenia, long standing friend, how to reconsider their relations with Azerbaijan and finally how to save the terribly damaged image of Hungary itself in the international arena. As you probably know, President Obama, Russian, French, Swedish and many other high authorities has spoken already about this in unison, harshly criticizing both Azerbaijan and Hungary.
Hungary attempts to present itself as a cheated side. We can not believe it, because the Armenian side warned the Hungarians over the course of all these 8 years against such an action and recently informed them about the inevitability of the release of that criminal after his transfer.
The Armenian embassy’s official statement on the Safarov Affair is available on our site by clicking here.