Szijjarto discusses improving relations with Ukrainian counterpart

Hungary has a vested interest in restoring good relations with Ukraine, as the present situation harms both countries as well as the ethnic Hungarian community living in Ukraine, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday, after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.

At a joint press conference with Kuleba, held in Uzhhorod (Ungvar), western Ukraine, Szijjarto said Hungary was ready to partly finance the reconstruction of the hospital in Berehove (Beregszasz), reconstruct a bridge over the river Tisza near Zahony, build a bypass road in Berehove and extend Hungary’s M3 motorway to the Ukrainian border by the end of 2021.

The Hungarian delegation also brought 50 ventilators to Ukraine “as a sign of good will”, he said.

Szijjarto noted that the government had used a total 90 billion forints (EUR 247m) to assist development projects in Ukraine in the past six years. He assured his counterpart of Hungary’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and said that the Hungarian government would ensure that gas supplies to Ukraine would be continued and Ukrainians allowed a transit through Hungary to Western Europe. He added that Hungary had one of the largest contingents in the Eastern European OSCE mission, and “it will stay so in future”.

Szijjarto welcomed Kuleba’s remarks suggesting that Transcarpathia could be made “a joint Ukrainian-Hungarian success story” and said that “this obviously necessitates that Transcarpathia Hungarians enjoy all minority rights stipulated by European law”. He said he hoped a dialogue concerning the rights of Ukraine’s Hungarian minority would be successful.

Answering a question, Kuleba said he saw a realistic chance for his country’s adopting dual citizenship, but added that in Ukraine the issue was “much broader” affecting not only the Hungarian minority.

Szijjarto said, in his reply to another question, that Hungary would “gladly” stop boycotting Ukraine-NATO ties, but added that “we only need Transcarpathia Hungarians to indicate that problems around their rights concerning their mother tongue and education in Hungarian are resolved.”

Concerning a question about a planned meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Szijjarto said that the aim was to strike a comprehensive agreement on good neighbourly relations, adding that preparations would soon be under way in the two countries’ mixed committees.

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