Thursday, March 19, 2009

War of words continues between Hungarian and Romanian presidents

Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom on Wednesday rejected a charge by his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu that he had not respected Romania's constitution.

In a television interview on Tuesday, Basescu accused Solyom of failing to respect the Romanian constitution. The Romanian president said that Hungarian officials were welcomed in his country but none of them should make any statement incompatible with the Romanian constitution.

Referring to the interview, Solyom said on Wednesday that whenever he speaks about the rights of Hungarian communities beyond the border, he always expresses endeavours that comply with the European norms and practices and are compatible with the constitutional order of the given country.

Solyom was to travel to Targu Mures, a city in western Romania's Transylvania region inhabited by many ethnic Hungarians to attend celebrations on March 15, Hungary's national holiday. The Romanian authorities, however, withdrew the landing permit of his plane so the president had to bring forward his visit by one day and travel to Transylvania by car.

Hungarian Foreign Affairs Spokesman Lajos Szelestey said earlier today that the two countries should step beyond the problems related to Solyom's recent visit.

"In view of our ties within NATO and the EU, our good neighbourly relations and the minorities living in both countries, we say now that we should look ahead, and try to find the opportunities for further cooperation," he said.

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