Ambassador on “historic” flight, Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict

Int’l Relations

Hungarian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zsolt Csutora spoke with media in his current country of residence this morning, touting the Budapest-to-Baku direct flight as no less than “historical,” while promising no change in his government’s stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In stating that launch of the Budapest-Baku flight earlier in 2013 as the culmination of two years’ work, Csutora claimed that Hungarian visas to Azerbaijan had increased twofold from the 1,047 issued in 2012 and credited the flight with “sharply increas[ing]” demand. The connection is “very favorable for tourism and business,” Csutora said, and that “The launching of the flight was the historical step between our countries.”

Meanwhile, on the question of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the ambassador noted that diplomatic relations between Hungary and Armenia have yet to be restored. “We support Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity [and] believe that the conflict can be solved peacefully.” Csutora emphasized that “Hungary is a country of friendship and wants to establish equal relations with all.”

Though the autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh Republic governs the area, the United Nations has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan; Armenian troops have nevertheless remained in the area continuously since the end of the eponymous six-year war there ended with a cease fire in 1994. Over ensuing decades, the Azerbaijani and Armenian governments have been negotiating the region’s and troops’ status under auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group; four UN resolutions have called for the withdrawal of Armenian forces since the 90s.

Last week, Turkey President Abdullah Gul pledged his country’s support for the Azerbaijan position while urging a “peaceful resolution” to the conflict; Azerbaijani politicians, wishing to approach the European Union, have appealed for more input from EU authorities on the matter.

Finally, it should be noted that countries in the region appear to be taking Hungary’s position on the matter very seriously. Lost in the shuffle of the recent “YouTube-gate” scandal involving Lithuanian ambassadors and politicos was disgraced the comment from Lithuania’s ambassador to Hungary, Renatas Juška, that his country “passes on the wishes of Hungary in the name of partnership” because “It is most undesirable that Hungary would spoil relations with anybody.”

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