Hungary Complained about Nato's Intention to Bypass Block of Meet up with Ukraine, Ongoing since 2017

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó, claims that NATO is convening a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission at the ministerial level, which Budapest has blocked for the past six years.

According to Infostart, Szijjártó said in Brussels after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that he announced to convene the Commission as part of NATO foreign ministers' meetup on April 4-5.

"The NATO Secretary General has announced that, for various reasons, he will convene this meeting at the Council of Foreign Ministers of NATO on April 4-5, despite Hungary's disagreement. On the Hungarian side's conviction, it can only take place under the condition of unanimous will," said Szijjártó.

"It violates the NATO unity and the unanimity procedure. At the same time, we cannot do anything else. We take our consideration of the Secretary General's decision," he added.

Szijjártó points out that Stoltenberg discussed issues related to the protection of Hungarian minorities in Ukraine at their bilateral meeting. Because of that, Budapest has been blocking the Commission meetup at the ministerial level for several years.

At the same time, he claims that Hungary will not support any significant integration step of Ukraine into NATO or the EU "until the rights of the Hungarian national community are restored there by the conditions of 2015 and earlier."

According to EuroPravda, a meeting of the Commission at the ministerial level is being considered, but the final decision is yet to be made. If it works out, it is going to be the first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Commission since 2017 when an education law opposed by Budapest was passed.

Previously, to circumvent the Hungarian veto, NATO held joint meetings with Ukraine and Georgia. Currently, it is about the Ukraine-NATO Ministerial Commission.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in response to the question of "European Pravda," informed that they could not yet confirm the information about the convening of the Commission.

The Alliance's website currently announces a ministerial meeting on April 4-5 in Brussels without mentioning the Ukraine-NATO Commission.

As reported, Szijjártó said in late February that Budapest would unblock the meetings (Ukr) of the Ukraine-NATO Committee at the ministerial level, if Kyiv fulfills the demand on the rights of Hungarian minorities.

The Hungarian side has previously used narratives of alleged oppression of the rights of Hungarians. In particular, Szijjártó said last year: if Ukraine does not change its policy towards the Hungarian minority, it will greatly limit the Hungarian government's ability to provide any support to Kyiv (Ukr) in the conflict with Russia.

At the time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called Szijjártó's statements "far-fetched and politicised." (Ukr)

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