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Mar 27, 2020

FM: Hungary is continuing to work towards resolving the issue of the Hungarian minority’s rights in Transcarpathia

Following online talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Péter Szijjártó said Hungary and Ukraine are in agreement that Transcarpathia should be “a success story” for both countries and this gives hope for finding a common solution.

The foreign minister said Hungary is continuing to work towards resolving the issue of the Hungarian minority’s rights in Transcarpathia, including the right to use their mother tongue and have access to Hungarian education.

Following online talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Péter Szijjártó said Hungary and Ukraine are in agreement that Transcarpathia should be “a success story” for both countries and this gives hope for finding a common solution.

Minister Szijjártó said Hungary will, however, continue to block NATO-Ukraine Council meetings until a solution is found for restoring minority rights. He said there was hope that under Ukraine’s ongoing public administration reform, a district could be set up in Berehove (Beregszász) where Hungarians form a majority.

The minister said that they also discussed the coronavirus epidemic in detail and underlined the importance of cooperation as neighbors. He noted that Ukraine has introduced strict border control allowing entry only for cars and pedestrians as of this weekend. He said Ukraine thanked Hungary for ensuring transit for Ukrainian citizens seeking to return home from western Europe.

Economic cooperation was also discussed, Minister Szijjártó said, noting the extension of Hungary’s 50 million euro tied-aid credit line for Transcarpathia’s infrastructure development by twelve months. Progress has also been made on opening a new border crossing between Nagyhódos and Velyka Palad (Nagypalád).

In regards to further projects, Minister Szijjártó noted the upgrade of the border bridge at Záhony and extending motorway M3 to the border. He said they approved three intergovernmental agreements that cover the use of renewable energy, epidemic cooperation and the reciprocal acceptance of diplomas and scientific degrees.

The minister also welcomed Russia’s agreement to continue supplying gas to central Europe via Ukraine under a pact it reached with that country. He added, however, this did not mean that alternative supply routes would not be sought, and related options will be discussed at an online conference to be hosted by Sofia later in the day.