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May 25, 2016

Hungary meets with Russia amid EU sanctions threat

Russia is an important market for Hungarian goods but it will abide by the EU position

Hungary has said that the European Union's decision on whether to extend economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine should be transparent and discussed openly.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today and stated that Hungary will not accept an "automatic" decision regarding the sanctions now in place until the end of July.

"EU members have to make a decision about (the sanctions) at the highest level," Peter Szijjarto said.

Hungary has expressed opposition to the sanctions because Russia is an important market for Hungarian goods but has said it will abide by the EU position.

The minister rejected criticism that Hungary is a "Trojan horse" for Russia in the EU, saying "it is dangerous if anyone has to give explanations for inviting the Russian foreign minister."

Meanwhile, the Russian foreign minister said that Hungary is an important and reliable partner for Russia, and bilateral relations offer serious potential.