Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szíjjártó spoke over the phone on Monday with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Meleșcanu, in an attempt to solve the diplomatic dispute over an Austro-Hungarian military graveyard in Transylvania, vandalized last week by Romanian nationalists.
An angry, Romanian crowd broke into a WWI-era Austro-Hungarian military cemetery, surging past a picket of praying, ethnic Hungarians and, despite a massive police presence, began laying wreaths at the illegally erected stone crosses of purported Romanian war heroes.
The Úz valley graveyard was established by Austrians and Hungarians in 1917. The fallen heroes of WWI and WWII battles lay there in peace until the council of Dărmănești/Dormánfalva – a small town of 8,600 inhabitants located some distance away in Bacău/Bákó county – set up concrete crosses and a memorial to Romanian war heroes in the cemetery.
The cemetery, however, belongs to the small Transylvanian village of Csíkszentmárton/Sânmartin Ciuc, population of 1,200, in Hargita/Harghita County.
In the wake of the incident, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă ordered the Ministry of Defence to take over administration of the graveyard, but both Hungary and ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania are opposed to the move.
The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that working groups of the Defence Ministries of the two countries should begin consultations to “restore proper order in line with bilateral and international agreements”.
Hunor Kelemen, president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ), said that as long as one of the Romanian ministry’s top officials is a certain Codrin Munteanu, well-known for his anti-Hungarian activities, the graveyard may be subjected to “even more brutal” interventions.
Title image: Romanian nationalists break into the Úz valley Austro-Hungarian military graveyard on June 6, 2019