Foreign ministers discuss Úz valley military graveyard situation

Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szíjjártó asked his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Meleşcanu to stop the attempted takeover of an Austro-Hungarian military graveyard in Transylvania by a nearby Romanian town.

The two met at a Pozsony/Bratislava on the sidelines of a meeting between the Visegrád Four Group and the Eastern Partnership, meant to boost cooperation between the EU and the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

Szíjjártó asked Meleşcanu to intervene with the local authorities in order to stop any construction on the site as there still might be unidentified Hungarian military buried in the cemetery and building over them would be both offensive and against bilateral agreements. He also said the two countries’ defense ministries should initiate bilateral talks as soon as possible to solve the issue.

The council of Dărmănești (Dormánfalva in Hungarian) – a small town with 8,600 inhabitants in Bacău (Bákó in Hungarian) County – recently set up Romanian war graves and a monument in a Hungarian military cemetery in the Úz Valley, on the territory of the neighboring County Hargita/Harghita.

The news caused outrage among Hungarians because the cemetery was founded by Austrians and Hungarians in 1917, and not a single Romanian soldier is buried. 650 Hungarian, Austrian and German soldiers rest in the cemetery which belongs officially to Csíkszentmárton (Sânmartin in Romanian) a small Székely village with 1200 inhabitants (98% of them Hungarians).

Previously all three major parties of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Romania have raised their voices against the move of the Romanian town.

“Everyone has the right to establish a place of remembrance and to commemorate, but it is our firm conviction that no place of remembrance or commemoration should offend the sensibilities and dignity of (another) community”, Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) said in a letter to Romanian premier Viorica Dăncilă.

Title image: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szíjjártó (L) and his Romanian counterpart Teodor Meleşcanu in Bratislava, May 6. (MTI/Zsolt Burger)

Author: Dénes Albert