UPDATE – Budapest mayor says moving Soviet memorial not on current agenda

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Budapest’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, said on Wednesday the possibility of removing the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers was not on the current agenda.

Magyar Nemzet daily said on Wednesday that Tarlos had started talks with his Moscow counterpart on moving the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers from the city centre.

Tarlos told journalists during a break in a municipal assembly that the city’s leaders would first have to consult the Foreign Ministry, as the issue touched on an inter-governmental agreement.

“Obviously I’m not going to cause diplomatic complications,” Tarlos said.

Tarlos added, however, that there was “a reason for raising the idea” since the memorial stood in the place of the one-time national flag and, as far as it is known, the remains of the Soviet soldiers had already been reburied.

“If this becomes an option then it should be possible to arrive at a constructive and civilized agreement with the mayor of Moscow, but it is not worth addressing the matter until the preconditions are fulfilled,” Tarlos said.

The memorial to the “Soviet liberators of Hungary” occupies Szabadsag (Freedom) Square in downtown, and has been the focal point of anti-Soviet demonstrations and calls for the memorial to be removed.

The paper also reported a plan to rename Roosevelt Square, in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on the Pest embankment of the Danube, Szechenyi Istvan Square, after the country’s first prime minister who also established the Academy, will be discussed at a session of the municipal council on April 6.

In turn, Szabadsag Square, which is overlooked by the American Embassy, would be renamed Roosevelt Square, according to the plan.

Source: mti.hu

Socialists accuse Fidesz govt of “planning to overthrow republic”

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Centre-right governing Fidesz is planning a “constitutional putsch” and wants to “overthrow the Hungarian Republic”, Socialist leader Attila Mesterhazy told party officials on Wednesday.

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Centre-right governing Fidesz is planning a “constitutional putsch” and wants to “overthrow the Hungarian Republic”, Socialist leader Attila Mesterhazy told party officials on Wednesday.

“They want to form a total dictatorship, not with tanks, but with the constitution,” Mesterhazy said at a party event in eastern Hungary.

The Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance commands a two-thirds majority in parliament, giving it a mandate to change the constitution, which is at present being debated by lawmakers. The Socialists and green party Politics Can Be Different are boycotting the parliamentary debate.

Mesterhazy noted that the Socialists had initially taken part in the work of the parliamentary committee drafting the constitution — even though they did not agree that the country needed a new basic law — and all their proposals had been “swept under the carpet”.

He said the Fidesz-Christian-Democratic constitutional draft spoke to a historical past which would not serve the nation’s present interests.

He added that the law, which had been strongly criticised both at home and on the international stage, had been designed to hand-cuff the next government and limit its room for manoeuvre, since “Fidesz people” would stay in their posts if there was a change in government.

source: mti.hu

Hungarian, Polish presidents stress friendship, historic past at Poznan university

Poznan, March 23 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt and his Polish counterpart Bronislav Komorowski emphasised the importance of their two countries’ common historic past and standing friendship at a ceremony marking Hungary-Poland Friendship Day hosted by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan on Wednesday.

Komorowski, the Hungarian president’s host, said that the two countries shared a common past of one thousand years and stood together as strong allies today.

“This tradition must continue in all possible ways,” he said.

Schmitt also noted from the common historical past the friendship of Hungarian 19th-century reformist poet Sandor Petofi and Polish General Jozef Bem and the assistance Hungary provided by offering shelters to Polish refugees after the outbreak of WWII.

He said in 1956 the workers’ uprising in Poznan in June gravely touched Hungarians, adding that mass demonstrations in Poland in support of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising in the autumn, and the aid Poland provided, had been seen as an unparalleled gesture within the Soviet bloc.

Schmitt and Komorowski laid wreaths at the Mickiewicz Square at the memorial for victims of the 1956 Poznan uprising.

Earlier in the day the two presidents laid flowers at the memorial plaques of 1956 Polish and Hungarian freedom fighter heroes Romek Strzalkowski and Peter Mansfeld.

Schmitt is concluding a two-day official visit to Poland at the invitation of Komorowski on Wednesday.

source: mti.hu

Hungarian, Polish presidents visit Poznan

Poznan, March 23 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski opened an exhibition entitled “Poznan-Budapest – Executed Cities” in the Poznan Museum of Struggle for Independence on Wednesday.

The exhibition is dedicated to the June 1956 uprising of Polish workers in Poznan and the October 1956 revolution in Hungary.

Earlier on Wednesday, the two heads of state attended the opening ceremony of the Hungarian-Polish Friendship Day at Adam Miczkiewicz University.

Both presidents emphasised the importance of the two countries’ common historic past and standing friendship.

Komorowski said that Poland and Hungary shared a common past of one thousand years and stood together as strong allies today.

“This tradition must continue in all possible ways,” he said.

Schmitt also noted from the common historical past the friendship of Hungarian 19th-century revolutionary poet Sandor Petofi and Polish General Jozef Bem and the assistance Hungary provided by offering shelters to Polish refugees after the outbreak of WWII.

He said in June 1956 the workers’ uprising in Poznan gravely touched Hungarians. Mass demonstrations in Poland in support of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising in the autumn of 1956 and the aid Poland provided were considered unparalleled gestures within the Soviet bloc, he added.

Schmitt and Komorowski laid wreaths at Mickiewicz Square, at the memorial for victims of the 1956 Poznan uprising.

Earlier in the day the two presidents laid flowers at the memorial plaques of 1956 Polish and Hungarian freedom fighter heroes Romek Strzalkowski and Peter Mansfeld.

Schmitt is concluding a two-day official visit to Poland at the invitation of Komorowski on Wednesday.

Source: mti.hu