Foreign minister protests Hungarian flag at Romanian embassy

January 15, 2018

FILE - A file photo taken on March 10, 2013, shows participants holding a huge Sekler flag in front of the Romanian embassy during a demonstration for Szekler autonomy in Budapest, Hungary. Hungary's foreign minister says provocative comments by Romania's prime minister about autonomy efforts by Szeklers, a group of ethnic Hungarians in Romania, are "totally unacceptable" and "unworthy of the 21st century." Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said Wednesday Jan. 10, 2018, on Realitatea TV that "if the Szekler flag flies on institutions there, they'll all fly next to the flag." (Lajos Soos/MTI via AP,file)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s foreign minister said Monday he would summon the Hungarian ambassador to express his discontent after the flag of a group seeking autonomy within his country was draped over Romania’s national emblem at its embassy in Budapest.

Teodor Melescanu called on Hungarian authorities to “guarantee the inviolability and integrity of Romanian missions and their staff.”

The incident came days after Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose angered Hungarians with provocative comments about autonomy efforts by Szeklers, an ethnic Hungarian group who live in Romania.

Tudose said that “if the Szekler flag flies on institutions” in Romania “they’ll all fly next to the flag.”

In Hungary, the comments were taken to mean that they should be hanged.

On Monday, Tudose denied that, saying he was referring to what he would do with the written resignations of any Romanian officials who allowed ethnic Hungarians to have autonomy in Romania.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Friday called the Romanian premier’s comments “totally unacceptable and unworthy of Europe, European values and the 21st century.”

A Hungarian parliamentary foreign affairs committee will meet Tuesday to discuss the issue.

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