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Respect for historical facts cannot be seen as revisionism, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at a meeting of parliament’s committee for national cohesion on Tuesday.

At his annual hearing with the committee, Szijjártó said that the situation of Hungarian minorities across the borders have improved in the past five years. However, many issues remain unsolved, he said.

Policy for Hungarian minorities across the borders is one of the most important aspects of Hungarian foreign policy and will not be “sacrificed for geopolitical games”, he said. National interests must be the cornerstone of foreign policy decisions, he said.

“We have to accept” that the government comes regularly under pressure as a result of that principle, he said.

“This Government Thinks in Terms of Nationality, not in Borders” – Interview with Péter Szilágyi

The government’s joint achievements with neighbouring countries have improved ethnic Hungarians’ situations, and provide an opportunity to discuss complicated issues in an atmosphere of mutual trust, he said.

Serbia treats Hungarian communities “the fairest”, even in comparison with European Union member states, Szijjártó said, and so Hungary is justified in arguing for the country’s EU accession.

Ukraine is on “the opposite end of the spectrum”, Szijjártó said. Since the new administration started work in that country, pressure has grown on the Hungarian community there, he said, adding that Hungary’s government rejected such pressure. Measures taken to improve the situation of Transcarpathia Hungarians have been interpreted as “revisionist”, he said.

“We have great hopes” regarding the new Ukrainian leadership, although little progress has been made “apart from positive statements”, he said.

Hungary will only lift its veto of a rapprochement between Ukraine and the NATO when Ukraine reverses measures seen by Hungary as harmful to ethnic Hungarians, he said.

The government’s economic development programmes for ethnic Hungarian communities have supported over 44,000 bids in a total value of 228 billion forints (EUR 682.4m), Szijjártó said.

In the featured photo illustration: Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. Photo by Mitko Sztojcsev/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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