Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 1, 2012

Newsline: Armenia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Hungary in Soldier Dispute

Armenia says it is cutting all ties with Hungary for allowing an Azerbaijani soldier who killed an Armenian officer to return home. On Friday, Hungary sent the soldier back to Azerbaijan, where he was immediately pardoned and freed by his country’s president. Azerbaijani Lieutenant Ramil Safarov was warmly welcomed in the capital, Baku, after arriving from Hungary, where he was imprisoned for murder. Safarov was given a life sentence in 2006 by the Budapest City Court after he confessed to hacking to death Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian of Armenia in his sleep. The incident happened while both were in Hungary for a 2004 language course of the NATO military alliance. Yet, as soon as Safarov arrived at the Baku airport, he received an official pardon from Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. In a short statement, the president said he decreed Friday that Safarov “should be freed from the term of his punishment.” Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan said in published remarks that “Hungarian authorities should understand that they have made a grave mistake.” He added that as of Friday, his nation would “cease all diplomatic relations and all ties with Hungary.” The State Department issued a statement saying the United States is “extremely troubled” by the news of the soldier’s pardon and that it is expressing its “deep concern” to Azerbaijan regarding the action. The State Department also said it is seeking further details from Hungary regarding the decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan. The press chief of Hungary’s Foreign Ministry, Gabor Kaleta, said that it was too early to comment on his country’s future relationship with Armenia or Azerbaijan. The decision to extradite Safarov comes shortly after Hungarian media reported that oil-rich Azerbaijan may lend Hungary up to $3.8 billion by buying special bonds to help it pay off its debt. Hungarian officials later played down the reports, saying they first want to conclude talks with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.



Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Mexico to be relocated

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne Friday discussed the embassy’s relocation plan with the city’s mayor-elect Miguel Angel Mancera, the embassy said. Wayne informed Mancera about the plan for an embassy’s new building. Currently, the U.S. embassy is located in Reforma Avenue, which is often occupied by protestors. “The building of a new embassy is a demonstration of the U.S. commitment to strengthen its bilateral relation with Mexico,” said Wayne. Wayne said he also talked with Mancera about the success of the security program “Ambar Alert” between the embassy and the city government. Mancera will assume office on Dec. 5 for a six-year term.