Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: We ask Serbian president to release Kosovan policemen

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday asked Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to consider releasing the three Kosovan policemen apprehended in Serbian territory last week, at a press conference after a meeting of Hungarian and Serbian heads of state and government in Palic, in northern Serbia.

Orbán said Hungary was carefully following the situation in Kosovo, and “sees the harm suffered by Serbs.” Orbán called it unacceptable that the international community should recognise an election as legitimate with a mere 4 percent turnout.

At the same time, he said that releasing the policemen “would help Serbia’s position in international politics.”

Vucic responded that the issue was in the hands of Serbia’s judiciary system.

Regarding the two countries’ relations, Orbán said: “As soon as Hungary and Serbia realised that they cannot be held hostage by history, their relations started developing.”

“A defining topic worldwide today is who is not cooperating with whom and why. Decoupling and derisking are the dominant words of international politics. We are setting a good example by striving to cooperate with as many countries as possible, rather than talking about who we do not want to work with,” Orbán said.

Orbán said the good relations were rooted in common features of the two nations. “Serbs have freedom, sovereignty and independence in their DNA, the same way Hungarians do.”

That “shared DNA” is at the root of the respect Hungarians show towards Serbia, he added.

Orbán praised his ties with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, saying they had met for the 32th time today. “Friendship and alliance in politics is only achievable with hard work,” he said.

Meanwhile, the differences between the two nations are valuable assets in cooperation, he said: “Serbia is not a NATO member like Hungary. Serbia is not an EU member like Hungary. Serbia is an Orthodox Catholic country, Hungary is Roman Catholic. Serbia is situated on the Balkans, while Hungary is in central Europe.” Strategic cooperation between them is expected to be hugely beneficial for both parties, he said.

The delegations of Hungary and Serbia signed 12 agreements during the meeting in Palic. The documents pertained to the foundation of the Hungarian-Serbian Strategic Cooperation Council, cooperation in foreign affairs, border protection, the construction of an oil pipeline between the two countries, European integration, the protection and exchange of confidential data, infrastructure, agriculture, defence and customs.

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