Encouraging steps have been taken toward restoring a climate of trust between Hungary and Ukraine, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work will be needed, which Hungary is ready to do, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Uzhhorod on Monday after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
At the meeting, Szijjártó presented a list of 11 Hungarian requests, chief among them being the restoration of the Hungarian ethnic minority’s schooling and language rights.
“I would like to quickly state at the outset that the government of Hungary has never asked for any rights for the Hungarians of Transcarpathia that did not exist before 2015,” he said in the video.
At a press conference after the talks, Ukrainian diplomatic chief Kuleba called the restoration of good neighborly relations a common interest, the “Carpathian True Word” (Kárpáti Igaz Szó) reported. He said that the situation of national minorities is not a simple issue and has been a topic for a very long time, which is why it was discussed most at the meeting. They would like to settle this contentious issue properly from both sides.
Kuleba also stated that a steering working group will be set up, which will have 10 days to find solutions to finalize the minority issues. This is to be settled at the inter-governmental committee level.
Szijjártó reminded that Hungary has received more than 1 million refugees from Ukraine, more than 5,000 Ukrainian children attend Hungarian schools, and about half a million families in Ukraine have received Hungarian humanitarian aid.
Szijjártó also asked his Ukrainian counterpart to maintain the current reliable gas transport route and to ensure fair operating conditions for Hungarian companies.
It was said at the meeting that the parties had moved closer to an Orbán-Zelensky meeting, which would turn a new page in the history of the two countries.