Romania summons Hungarian ambassador on disparaging comments

Int’l Relations

Hungarian Embassy Envoy, Károly Zoltán Nagy, was summoned to the Romanian foreign ministry over remarks his superior, Hungarian Ambassador Botond Zákonyi, made about Hungarian-Romanian bilateral relations in an interview published yesterday, Hungarian news agency MTI reported this morning.

The embassy summoned next-in-command Nagy as Zákonyi is currently on holiday and therefore unavailable, MTI said.

In the interview, published by right-leaning opposition daily Romania libera, Zákonyi said that bilateral relations depended in part on infrastructure cooperation; yet he felt that the Romanian side "fails to demonstrate goodwill."

According to the interview, such failure includes a stall in linking ten roads on either side of the border, with Zákonyi saying it appears Romania is taking "retrograde steps." Another is the Szeged-Arad gas pipeline and its planned upgrade, which would enable bidirectional gas supply, but so far only delivers in the direction of Romania.

The Romanian foreign ministry commented by saying Hungary had failed to respect the general framework of bilateral cooperation.

Relations between the two countries have been on an apparent deterioration of late. In a Facebook post on July 26, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its concerns regarding Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Facebook post from earlier, which included a picture of revisionist symbols, such as pins of the Székely flag and the old kingdom of Hungary. Following this, the Prime Minister’s press office issued a statement saying that the image published on the PM’s Facebook page contained “historic symbols” which the Romanian Ministry [mis]interpreted as revisionist symbols. However, Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Orbánʼs behavior was offensive towards Romania.

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