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Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Hungarian Embassy celebrates National Day in Riyadh

The Hungarian Embassy in Riyadh hosted a reception celebrating National Day on Oct. 23.
“It is a great honor for me to celebrate the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution with all distinguished Saudi dignitaries, members of the diplomatic corps, and friends of Hungary living and working in Saudi Arabia,” said Hungarian Ambassador Balazs Selmeci.

The ambassador welcomed his esteemed guests, including ambassadors to the Kingdom from Greece, Austria, Iraq and Palestine.

Mayor of Riyadh Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf Al-Miqrin attended the ceremony as the honorary guest.

The reception opened with the Saudi and Hungarian national anthems. The ambassador then made a speech thanking the attendees and highlighting the significance of such an important date in Hungary’s history.

“Every October, since the fall of communism, we remember a glorious 13 days from the autumn of 1956. We are paying homage by this to the heroes of the Hungarian Uprising who stood up to the oppressive communist regime,” he said.

“In 1996, we established diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, and during the last 26 years, we laid down the foundations of our bilateral relation based on mutual political trust,” Selmeci said.

During his speech, the ambassador told the story of Gyula Germanus, a Hungarian professor of oriental studies, parliament member and writer who sparked relations with the Kingdom in the mid-1930s.

“Prof. Germanus — after his conversion as a Muslim, Julius Abdulkarim Germanus — was the first Hungarian Muslim to perform the Hajj in Makkah in 1935. He not only performed the Hajj, but he even received permission to investigate the Black Stone, since he was once a leading student of geology,” the ambassador said.

“Our Hungarian orientalist already established contact with our Saudi friends in 1936, about 100 years ago. Yes, our diplomatic relations are only 26 years old, but the relations between the two countries, particularly the friendly relations between the two countries, (are) about a century old,” he said.

At the time, Germanus was invited to the royal tent of the late King Abdulaziz and wrote a book about his journeys in the sacred land.

“He was of the few Europeans who at that time could present the real identity and beauty of Saudi Arabia to the world, for which we all pay tribute and salute to him,” the ambassador said.

Selmeci highlighted the importance of gathering other ambassadors and public figures in the Kingdom in order to celebrate this occasion.

In 2014, the Hungarian Embassy organized the first Arab-Hungarian Business Forum in Riyadh with 150 domestic companies participating. In 2023, they are preparing for the fourth Session of the Hungarian-Saudi Joint Economic Commission.

Through the Hungarian-Saudi Joint Economic Commission, the ambassador hopes to see Hungarian companies working in the Kingdom to contribute to Vision 2030.
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