Ukraine's Foreign Ministry summons Hungarian ambassador over Szijjarto's statement in Canada

01:58, 05 July 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Yehor Bozhok has invited Hungarian Ambassador to Ukraine Istvan Ijgyarto to "explain the logic behind Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto's signals" at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, Canada.

"[I] invited Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine I.Ijgyarto and asked him to explain the logic behind Hungarian Minister Szijjarto's signals from #Toronto #UkraineReformConference. Highlighted necessity to apply not back- but forward-looking approach to development of Ukrainian-Hungarian relations," Bozhok tweeted on July 4.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said on its website that during the conversation, Bozhok drew attention to the fact that despite all the efforts of the Ukrainian side aimed at resolving issues that cast a shadow over the friendly relations between the two states, the Hungarian side continues "public rhetoric that causes surprise."

In particular, the Ukrainian diplomat said that the Ukrainian side was perplexed by the recent statements made by Szijjarto at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, which, according to the Ukrainian side, "are at variance with the Venice Commission's conclusions and previous agreements."

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"The Ukrainian side followed all the recommendations of the Venice Commission and went to the meeting of the Hungarian side regarding the implementation of the law of Ukraine on education. The law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language, adopted on April 25, 2019, takes into account the request of the Hungarian side regarding the extension of the transitional period until 2023," the ministry said.

Also, Bozhok recalled that during his visit to Budapest in May 2019, the Ukrainian side initiated the development of an algorithm for resolving non-constructive issues in Ukrainian-Hungarian relations. There was no response to the Ukrainian side's proposals yet.

The Ukrainian side says it is ready for a constructive dialogue on resolving issues on the agenda of Ukrainian-Hungarian relations.

According to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry's website, Szijjarto said in Toronto on Wednesday, July 3: "Hungary is recommending to the Ukrainian leadership that relations between the two countries should return to their usual track, when the previously acquired rights of the Hungarian national community living in Transcarpathia [Zakarpattia] had not been taken away."

Szijjarto said that the "previous Ukrainian leadership and President Poroshenko had practiced decidedly anti-Hungarian politics, as a result of which the rights of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia had been seriously curtailed."

"The new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, represents a renewed hope that Ukraine will not be practicing anti-Hungarian politics," Szijjarto said. "The statements of the new Ukrainian President are encouraging, but can only provide cause for cautious optimism. The true watershed will be whether Zelensky implements the legislative changes following the parliamentary elections, as a result of which the Hungarian national community regain their previous rights."

According to Szijjarto, if the Ukrainian side "returns rights" to ethnic Hungarians in Zakarpattia, "Hungary is prepared to implement a comprehensive economic cooperation plan with Ukraine, within the framework of which it will finance road construction projects in Transcarpathia within the framework of a EUR 50 million tied aid loan programme."

As part of this, four new border crossing points would be opened between Hungary and Ukraine.

What is more, Hungary promises to provide one hundred scholarship places for Ukrainian students to study at Hungarian universities.

"We would renew the operations of our joint economic and environmental committees, in addition to which we would continue the Transcarpathia Economic Development Programme, within the framework of which the Hungarian Government has already provided some 14 billion forints (EUR 43.4 million) in funding to 5,591 small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers. As a continuation of the Programme, Hungary would increase the level of funding by a further one and a half billion forints. This would conform to the interests of Hungary and Ukraine, and especially to those of Hungarians living in Transcarpathia," he said.

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