Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

Novak: Zelensky ready to honour Hungarian minority rights

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is "ready to grant Ukraine's Hungarians the rights ethnic Ukrainians enjoy in Hungary," President Novak said in an interview to portal Index published on Monday.

During a recent visit to Kyiv, Novak urged “meaningful steps” concerning the rights of Transcarpathia Hungarians, she said in her interview.

Novak said this had been the first time for her to talk longer in a one on one meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart, who had thanked her for Hungary’s help and the perseverance of Transcarpathian Hungarians.

At the talks, Novak said it was in the two countries’ mutual interest that the ethnic Hungarian community is granted full minority rights. “We do not need high-sounding phrases . ethnic Ukrainians in Hungary enjoy a wide range of (minority) rights and that is very well,” Novak said, and quoted Zelensky as reassuring her that Ukraine was ready to grant the same rights to ethnic Hungarians. She added that her talks with Zelensky were “honest and open”.

Concerning the war in Ukraine, Novak urged peace talks, saying that she saw no military solution that could ensure peace in the long run. He added that Zelensky’s “peace initiative” was supported by over 40 countries. “Since I find it important that Hungary should be a participant in any movement that brings peace closer, I indicated our readiness to join the negotiations, which the Ukrainian president welcomed,” Novak said.

While in Kyiv, the president met the prime minister of Moldova, and discussed the latter country’s endeavours to join the European Union. During the talks, Novak said “while Moldova’s and Ukraine’s candidate membership status is important for Hungary, it cannot hinder the integration of Western Balkans countries that have long been waiting.” She also said “later entrants are always required to produce more than founding members.”

Novak also said she had met the prime minister of Finland, who thanked her for Hungary’s support of Finland’s NATO entry.

Concerning a recent visit to the Vatican, Novak said the focus of her talks with Pope Francis had been “how we could promote a desire for peace in those that live further away from the conflict”. She said Francis considered female leaders instrumental, and that the pontiff “personally relies” on her in promoting peace.

In Rome, Novak had informal talks with Georgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister, and saw eye to eye as to the dangers of illegal migration, and concluded that “we won’t have a future in the long run unless Christian culture is protected.” Referring to Meloni, Novak said she was a prime minister that “considers us a friend, an ally”.

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