The Romanian Defence Ministry has postponed a joint Hungarian-Romanian on site fact-finding visit to the disputed Úz Valley military graveyard for the last week of October, putting the visit just after a planned demonstration of a radical Romanian nationalist group.
While the National Office for Heroes’ Cult (ONCE), belonging to the Romanian Defence Ministry and which is in charge of the bilateral talks, did not give any reason for the delay, the spokeswoman of the Hungarian Museum of Military History (the Hungarian counterpart in the talks) said the delay may have been caused by the fact that other nations whose soldiers may also be buried in the cemetery have not yet submitted the information requested by the Romanian side.
In the meantime, Orthodox nationalist group Calea Neamului (The Way of the Nation) has announced a torch-lit march for October 25 at the Úz Valley cemetery in memory of the 149 Romanian soldiers who fell in the Úz Valley battle during World War I.
The leader of the group, Mihai Sorin Tîrnoveanu was the one who began spreading the misinformation that 149 Romanian heroes are buried in the Úz Valley graveyard without any document backing his claim. In truth – a fact the ONCE has also established since- the remains of the 149 Romanian heroes have been moved to the international military graveyard in the nearby Romanian village of Comănești.
52 concrete crosses and war memorials to Romanian heroes were erected illegally in the Úz Valley military graveyard in April and forcefully inaugurated by Romanian nationalists on June 6. The Romanian Ministry of National Defence invited a delegation of its Hungarian counterpart to discuss the issue of military graveyards in general, and the Úz Valley one in particular, with the first meeting held on June 26, based on the principles and regulations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the additional protocols adopted on June 8, 1977.
Title image: Old and new graves in the Úz Valley military graveyard (MTI/Edit Kátai)