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The homecoming of five Armenian soldiers is a success of Hungarian diplomacy


In a recent interview, asked Tristan Azbej, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Hungary Helps Program, about the role of the Hungary Helps Program in diplomacy. The State Secretary talked about a recent diplomatic success, which enabled the homecoming of five Armenian soldiers, and the delivery of one hundred thousand doses of vaccine, given to Armenia by the Hungarian Government.

Asked about the connection between the Hungary Helps program, and the situation of Christians in Armenia, the State Secretary said that “the people who persecute Christians do not care about what is written on the baptismal certificate of those persecuted, or to which denomination they belong. (…) We, at the Hungary Helps Program, do not worry about the religion of the people; if there is anyone who is persecuted for their religion – occasionally for their Christian religion – and we can help, we do.”

He also added that “due to the coronavirus crisis and the war of last year, Armenia is in a difficult humanitarian situation, and Hungary Helps provides help to the country.”

Moreover, Hungary plays an important role as a mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thanks to the Hungarian involvement, five Armenian soldiers could go home from Azerbaijan last December. Responding to a question about this diplomatic success, Tristan Azbej replied that “in a sensitive and tense situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Hungary engaged as a mediator. Thanks to this mediation and the intercession of the Holy See, the five young soldiers celebrated Christmas with their families, which is a great achievement”.

He said that “for Hungary, the territorial integrity of both countries is important. We know from our history that it is not a good thing that external players, far from our country, determine our borders…” He also added: “at the same time, it is important to highlight that without the helpfulness of the Azeri authorities, and the good relationship between Hungary and Azerbaijan, the soldiers could not have gone home.” Moreover, “the extraordinary openness and friendly cooperation of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government also played an essential role.”

The State Secretary also mentioned the name of Ashot Smbatyant, “Chief Ministerial Adviser for Hungarian-Armenian Relations at the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of the key players in the diplomatic and religious diplomatic process”.

On the day of the soldiers’ homecoming, another important diplomatic event took place: the Hungary Helps Program handed over one hundred thousand doses of vaccines to Armenia, in the name of the Hungarian Government.

In August 2021, Armenia asked for help from the European Union as they immediately needed COVID19 vaccines. “The Hungarian Government responded to this request and provided one hundred thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The vaccine will be available for every citizen through the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church and the State health system.”

At the end of the interview, Azbej was also asked about the humanitarian projects for the year 2022. He said: “We have elaborated the main points of our annual budget. It is already certain that we will contribute to the financing of the project supporting the Armenian Catholic Church’s schools in Lebanon. We continue our work in the name of Christian Hungary with full commitment, as we did before.”

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