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22.9.12

The Safarov Affair and the Hungarian Version

On Friday, September 14, Sarkis Assadourian, former member of the Canadian Parliament (1993-2004) and former Citizenship Judge of Canada (2005-2008), met in Ottawa with the Ambassador of Hungary in Canada, Laszlo Pordany. In a note to "Loussapatz" weekly (September 22, 2012), Assadourian remarked: "The discussion lasted 45 minutes. In private conversation, we discussed the current situation between Armenia and Hungary. The Ambassador was very forthcoming and honest in his assessment of the events. I would like to thank him and share his point of view with you. I am sure you will appreciate his insight." Here is the text of the Hungarian Ambassador's letter:


Dear Mr. Assadourian                                                                                   
Ottawa, Sept. 16, 2012
I wish to thank you for coming to the Hungarian Embassy to discuss a burning issue, to seek my government’s position and my opinion. Let me express my gratitude for the candid conversation. In light of your openness and positive approach to our discussion, I am glad to meet your request and make good my promise to reiterate in writing some of my major points, including mostly those I made in answer to your questions.
1. Contrary to some beliefs, Ramil Safarov was not released from prison, but was to be transferred from Budapest to another jail in his home country to continue his life term there.
2. No country likes to hold the citizen of another country forever. However, we took all possible precautions, given especially the hideous nature of the crime that had been committed. The negotiations, the preparations and the transfer itself took place in strict compliance with the provisions of international law.
3. As a crucial part of the "deal," it was specifically agreed that the convict was to be held under conditions as he had been in Hungary i.e. in jail.
4. Any conjecture suggesting that there was some "shenanigan" (e.g. some secret financial deal) involved is totally wrong. It is a bizarre accusation as far as Hungary is concerned, but it has been rejected by both governments.
5. Azerbaijan reneged on its word. Instead of being locked up in prison immediately, Safarov was pardoned,
and was in fact received and celebrated as a national hero.
6. Hungary considers the Azeri act not only breach of law, but as abhorrent and morally unacceptable.
7. Hungary communicated this to Azerbaijan in unequivocal terms. Since, we have repeatedly voiced our grave disappointment and disapproval.
8. It was in no way the intention of Hungary to insult Armenia and its people. It could not have been. Armenia has [been] for centuries a close friend of Hungary. We gave shelter to many thousands of her refugees throughout the centuries, and many of our citizens and compatriots still have a dual identity and are in other words good Armeniens and good Hungarians at the same time. This means that insulting Armenians would amount to insulting ourselves.
9. We deeply regret the suspending of diplomatic relations with our country. We will try to find and use every opportunity to re-establish and strenghten the friendly relations. One such opportunity seems to be arising with the help of Switzerland, which has offered to act as go-between in that process.
Once again, I appreciate your genuine interest in the details of this matter.
Sincerely. 
Dr. László Pordány, Ambassador of Hungary

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