Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hungary: Romania’s handling of President Sólyom’s visit during the national holiday departs from the spirit of well-developing bilateral relations

The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Hungary is pleased to note that the commemorations of the anniversary of the 1848/49 Hungarian revolution by ethnic Hungarians in Romania, attended by the President of the Republic of Hungary, were held in a solemn and dignified manner, without any disruptions, on March 14, 2009.

However the presidential visit originally planned for March 15 was put in jeopardy because the Romanian side cancelled the flight clearance and landing permit of the president's aircraft, despite the fact that the Hungarian side had submitted an official notification of the visit in due time and in an appropriate form to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, asking for co-operation with regard to the technicalities. The Foreign Ministry at the same time acknowledges that the Romanian police in the end did co-operate in securing a free road passage for the president’s convoy.

President Sólyom’s visit to Romania is an important element of strategic co-operation between Hungary and Romania, who are both EU partners and NATO allies, and it served not to hinder but to strengthen the partnership. To question these intentions contravenes the development of relations based on partnership, and is therefore unacceptable.

Romania’s response to the president’s visit departed from the spirit of bilateral relations, which has been developing recently. Hungary is determined to further enhance these relations and to efficiently prepare the 5th joint Hungarian-Romanian government session envisaged for the second half of the year. It is convinced that the common need for modernisation unites their countries, as do bilateral and EU infrastructure and regional development projects, as well as joint responsibilities for the region’s security and development in an Atlantic and European Union framework.

The communities of Romanians living in Hungary and Hungarians in Romania also create a link between the two countries. There are several approaches in European and international law to implementing the rights of national minorities, but we are aware of the fact that it is in our mutual interest to adopt solutions through which these rights can be exercised at the highest level, contributing to the creation and advancement of an atmosphere of understanding and trust between the majority and minority communities as well as the neighbouring countries.

These endeavours were supported by President Sólyom’s participation in the commemorations at Piatra Nierges (Nyerges-tető in Hungarian) organised by the local authorities of Harghita (Hargita in Hungarian) county and Cozmeni (Csíkkozmás in Hungarian) municipality on March 14, 2009. The same is true of the message sent by the Hungarian prime minister to Hungarians living outside Hungary’s borders, and the greetings delivered by the Romanian head of state and prime minister to Hungarians in Romania on the occasion of the national holiday. We intend to continue building relations and co-operation in that spirit.

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