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Foreign Minister: Signs of Positive Progress in Ukraine Relations

Miklós Halász-Szabó 2018.12.07.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Thursday welcomed positive signs of progress regarding Ukraine’s attitude to Hungarian communities in Transcarpathia and bilateral relations in general.

Ukraine’s parliament has scheduled a vote on extending the transitional period of the new education law, Szijjártó noted after talks with his counterpart, Pavel Klimkin, on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers attending an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe session in Milan. He added, however, that there is no guarantee that the vote will actually be held, citing two similar past initiatives that were unsuccessful.

Without a doubt, we appreciate the Ukrainian government’s willingness, in line with the expectations of the European Union, to put a vote on extending the transitional period until 2023 onto parliament’s agenda.”

Ukraine’s education law is said to discriminate against national minorities in the country.

Szijjártó further noted Hungarian approval for the opening of an honorary Ukrainian consulate in Siófok and Ukraine’s assent to a new Hungarian one in Ternopil as “positive developments”.

Moreover, a new Hungarian ambassador will take up a post in Kiev and an agreement signed with the Ukrainian side to extend the opening hours of border crossings in Barabás and Lónya, he said.

He cited progress in setting up border crossings in  Nagypalád (Velyka Palad) and Nagyhódos, and added that an InterCity train service will start between Munkács (Mukachevo) and Budapest from December 9.

Szijjártó said he would again meet his Ukrainian counterpart in Brussels on Dec. 10. Continuous dialogue is important, and efforts to rebuild trust are unfaltering, he added.

I continue to believe that maintaining dialogue is critically important in order to resolve difficult issues in the interest of ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia.”

Commenting on a meeting with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier, he said Zannier had assured him that he would continue to closely monitor decisions in Ukraine that affect ethnic Hungarian communities there.

via MTI
featured photo by Mitko Sztojcsev/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade