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.