Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept 12 /Trend E.Tariverdiyeva/
Hungary knew its decision to hand convicted Ramil Safarov over to his native Azerbaijan would spark a diplomatic backlash from Armenia, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Orban was asked at a news conference about a report by news portal origo.hu, which said the prime minister had taken the decision despite being warned about the risks of such a move.
"There was coordination within the entire government about this," Orban said. "Each ministry presented its opinion, the justice ministry about the legal side and the foreign ministry about the diplomatic consequences."
Orban said he had then announced the decision personally in line with general procedure.
"The foreign ministry had forecast precisely what types of consequences this or the other decision may have," he added.
Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, who was convicted in Hungary, returned to Azerbaijan on Aug. 31. The same day, under an order of the head of state, he was pardoned.
Ramil Safarov was born on August 25, 1977 in the Jabrail region of Azerbaijan. Safarov 34, who participated in NATO exercises in 2004 in Hungary, was charged with the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan, who insulted the Azerbaijani flag. As the result of the verdict by the Budapest court, Safarov was sentenced to life imprisonment without the right of pardon during 30 years.
Immediately after the Azerbaijani officer's release, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced that Armenia suspends diplomatic relations and all official contacts with Hungary.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.