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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ukrainian and Hungarian international ministers meet however fail to interrupt a diplomatic impasse

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KAMIANYTSIA, Ukraine — A years-long diplomatic battle between Ukraine and Hungary took a step towards decision on Monday throughout a gathering of their international ministers, however no breakthrough was reached on Hungary’s blocking of a vital European Union monetary assist package deal for Kyiv.

The assembly, at a resort close to the Ukrainian metropolis of Uzhhorod, got here as European leaders are scrambling to influence Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to carry his veto of fifty billion euros ($54 billion) in EU assist to Ukraine which he introduced at an EU summit in December.

Orbán, broadly perceived because the Kremlin’s closest EU ally, has mentioned he won’t assist financing the help by the 27-member bloc’s price range, irritating different EU leaders who’re struggling to pressure a change in his place earlier than a summit in Brussels on Thursday when they may strive once more to approve the funding.

Monday’s assembly was Hungarian Overseas Minister Peter Szijjarto’s first go to to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, and the one official bilateral assembly along with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, within the final two years.

Szijjarto mentioned that modifications Ukraine made late final yr to its training and language legal guidelines had “doubtlessly stopped a unfavourable spiral” that had restricted the rights of ethnic Hungarians within the western Ukrainian area of Zakarpattia to review of their native language.

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However, he mentioned, these modifications weren’t sufficient to resolve the dispute over the language rights of the Hungarian minority that has dominated the 2 international locations’ poor relations for years.

Hungary, Szijjarto mentioned, has an “expectation that the members of the Hungarian nationwide neighborhood will regain their rights that already existed in 2015.”

“We nonetheless have an extended solution to go,” he mentioned, “however we on the Hungarian facet are prepared to do that work.”

Kuleba mentioned that he thought-about the query of the Hungarian minority “basically resolved,” however {that a} joint committee will likely be established to look at how Kyiv can deal with Budapest’s additional calls for regarding Ukraine’s Hungarian neighborhood, and current these findings to the respective governments in 10 days.

Tensions have flared between the neighboring international locations as Budapest has obstructed EU efforts to supply monetary and army help to Kyiv, and has refused to supply weapons to Ukraine or enable their switch throughout Hungary’s border.

Hungarian officers have accused Kyiv of mistreating the Hungarian minority in western Ukraine to justify their lukewarm assist for the war-ravaged nation.

Andriy Yermak, the pinnacle of the Ukrainian Presidential Workplace who additionally attended the talks, mentioned progress had been made on arranging a bilateral assembly between Orbán and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however didn’t give particulars on when it would happen.

Not one of the officers would touch upon whether or not Hungary was more likely to carry its veto of the 50-billion euro EU assist package deal at Thursday’s summit.

Ukraine has urgently requested Western funding because it reviews shortages of ammunition and army {hardware}. A deliberate $60 billion assist package deal from the US has stalled in Congress, making it troublesome for Kyiv to resume its army capabilities towards Russia’s extra trendy weaponry.

The EU has withheld billions in funding from Budapest over issues that Orbán’s authorities has cracked down on judicial independence, media freedom and the rights of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

A few of Orbán’s critics within the EU imagine that he has used his veto energy over help to Ukraine as leverage to realize entry to the frozen funds, whereas Budapest argues Brussels is in search of to blackmail Hungary to pressure a change in its insurance policies.



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