Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (l) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - Photo: PMO

Orbán: ‘I did not want to convince Zelensky, only gauge his stance’

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Wednesday gave a video interview to conservative Swiss daily Weltwoche, and said that during his recent visit to Kyiv he had not aimed to convince President Volodymyr Zelensky but "gauge the limits of Kyiv's stance regarding the peace process".
4. July 2024 5:20

During the talks on Tuesday, Orbán said he had aimed to leave behind “the not too flourishing ties” of recent times between the two countries, and concentrate on the future. He said he had talked about the large Hungarian community in Ukraine, especially in territories that used to belong to Hungary, and suggested that Ukraine put forward an action plan that would be beneficial for Ukraine’s negotiations in the EU accession process as well as for the Hungarian minority.

Orbán said he had not tried to “convince” Zelensky, nor had he made proposals. He said he had aimed to clarify Zelensky’s “position and limits when we speak about peace”. Orbán said that as the head of the country holding the European presidency, he was planning to prepare a report on “the possibility of peace” for the European Council, as the current proposals were wasting time. He therefore asked Zelensky to first start a ceasefire to speed up negotiations, he said.

Orbán said Zelensky “was not very happy with the idea, he had had bad experiences with previous ceasefires”. He understood Hungary’s position and “explained his limits”, Orbán said.

On the matter of the EU as a power in foreign policy, Orbán said the issue depended on the leaders of large European countries. “If the Germans, French and Italians are not coming together and making decisions and suggestions for the others,” but waste time on divvying up positions, change will not happen, he said.

Orbán said his talks in Berlin, Rome and Paris had been the start of a “peace mission.” He had tried “to convince the leaders that they should take the lead,” otherwise Europe will disappear from the international arena, he warned.

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