Istvan Pasztor - Photo: wikipedia

Orbán pays tribute to Vojvodina Hungarian leader at funeral

"We cannot be grateful enough to Istvan Pasztor, who reconciled the Hungarians and the Serbs, and showed the path on which the two peoples can move forward together," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his eulogy given at the funeral of the head of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians (VMSZ), in Subotica on Saturday.

“We feel the weight of the political legacy left to us, we are central Europeans, so we know exactly how easily a friend can become an enemy, and how rare it is in this region for former enemies to become friends,” he said. About a decade ago it would have been unthinkable that the two nations could count on each other in everything, Orbán said, adding that “today it would however be unthinkable that we would not share in each other’s joys and pain”.

Orbán bid farewell to the Vojvodina Hungarian leader jointly with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Vucic said Istvan Pasztor had been a historical figure, whose name would live on not only in Hungarian, but also in Serbian textbooks. He managed to connect the largest Serbian party and the biggest Hungarian party in Vojvodina, and Serbia’s leaders with the Hungarian government, the Serbian president added. Pasztor always worked for reconciliation, always protected both Hungarian and Serbian interests, and was willing to compromise because he knew that there is no progress without reaching an agreement, Vucic said.

Pasztor died on Monday at the age of 67 after a short, serious illness.

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