Hungary to appoint Syria diplomat in thawing of ties

Hungary has often been at loggerheads with other EU members and the EU itself. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Hungary to appoint Syria diplomat in thawing of ties

  • The ministry said Budapest provides humanitarian aid for Christians in the Middle East, including in Syria
  • A “considerable number” of Syrian students study in Hungary on scholarships

BUDAPEST: Hungary is planning to appoint a diplomat to carry out “consular duties” in Damascus next year, the first time an EU member state is to upgrade its diplomatic presence in Syria since the start of the war.
“Starting next year, Hungary will delegate a diplomat who will occasionally visit Syria to make follow ups on humanitarian support and to conduct consular duties,” Hungary’s foreign ministry said in a statement to AFP on Wednesday.
The ministry said Budapest provides humanitarian aid for Christians in the Middle East, including in Syria, while a “considerable number” of Syrian students study in Hungary on scholarships.
Only the Czech Republic still has an embassy in Damascus, while other EU countries, the US and Canada are among those which have closed their missions, breaking off relations with the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Romania technically still has an embassy in Syria, but the ambassador is based in Beirut. Bulgaria has a charge d’affaires.
EU countries have in the past sent envoys to Syria, but not for consular purposes, with their duties limited to talks on aid and policy.
Syria’s conflict flared in 2011 with anti-government demonstrations that sparked a brutal regime crackdown. Since then, 370,000 people have been killed and millions displaced.
A source close to the Hungarian government told AFP that Budapest was considering engaging Assad to better help Christians, as well as “be ahead of” other EU countries possibly re-opening ties for economic opportunities.
“Many people in (the ruling party) Fidesz and in the government think that the question of engaging Assad is not a question of if, but when it is going to happen,” he said.
Led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has often been at loggerheads with other EU members and the EU itself on what Orban calls its pro-immigration stance and other issues.


Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

Updated 13 min 36 sec ago

Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

CAIRO: An Egyptian footballer has threatened to sue Instagram users who sent abusive messages this week over photos of himself and his three-year-old daughter.
The incident involving Amre Soulia, a player at Al-Ahly football club, has caused a storm on social media in Egypt after comments on his photos triggered widespread anger over harassment.  
The player publicly called out a number of people who had harassed him and his daughter by sharing screenshots of their comments that mainly targeted what the young girl was wearing - a black T-shirt and jeans.
The player is seen holding his daughter’s hand while she smiles back at him.  

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my everything

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“May God save her for you … but I hope you make your daughter wear respectable clothes because you’re a respectful player,” one user wrote to Soulia.
Another user said: “Cover up your daughter, son, so that she grows to become one (who’s covered).”
Several other sexually-loaded remarks targeted the little girl, prompting the player to take legal action against them. 
“All legal measures were taken and a lawsuit was filed against anyone who insulted me or any member of my family,” Soulia wrote on his social media account. 
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The incident is the latest in Egypt, where sexual assault and harassment are deep-seated problems. 
Egyptian actor Sherif Mounir recently hit out at people who insulted his teenage daughters in a picture he shared of them on Instagram.