Hungarian PM to meet with Zelensky once Hungarians in Ukraine get rights back — diplomat

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Hungarian PM to meet with Zelensky once Hungarians in Ukraine get rights back — diplomat
The Uzhgorod talks also addressed a possible meeting between the two countries’ leaders
BUDAPEST, January 30. /TASS/. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky after the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine’s Zakarpatye Region are restored, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary Tamas Menczer said.

“The Hungarian prime minister and the Ukrainian president shall meet once relations enter a new phase,” the diplomat said. According to him, the date of such a meeting has not been set yet. “If a date were to be set, it would mean that the rights of the Hungarian community in Zakarpatye have been restored,” Menczer explained, speaking on the M1 TV channel.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on January 29 that the issue was not settled yet. After meeting with top Ukrainian diplomat Dmitry Kuleba and chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andrey Yermak in Uzhgorod (a city in Ukraine’s Zakarpatye Region), he pointed out that the two countries had a long way to go to restore mutual trust. Hungary’s main grievances against Ukraine concern the rights of the Hungarian minority in Zakarpatye, which were revoked by local authorities after 2015.

The Uzhgorod talks also addressed a possible meeting between the two countries’ leaders. The Ukrainian officials said Kiev was interested in such a meeting but Szijjarto did not touch upon the issue at his final press conference. Orban has not held a full-fledged meeting with Zelensky in the past two years and, unlike the leaders of other European Union countries, he has not visited Kiev over this time either.

Budapest demands that the rights of the Hungarian minority in Zakarpatye be restored, warning that otherwise, it will not support Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union. On December 8, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) passed a law on the rights of ethnic minorities, which takes into account the recommendations issued by the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe. The document removes a number of language restrictions on ethnic minorities that speak the official languages of EU member states. The Uzhgorod meeting decided to set up a bilateral commission to consider Hungary’s demands and prepare a report for the foreign ministers.

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