Hungary proposes to Ukraine signing an accord on the protection of national minorities, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.
“Confidence between the two countries needs to be rebuilt,” the minister told MTI in Warsaw, where he held talks with his Ukrainian partner Pavlo Klimkin on the sidelines of a security forum.
According to the proposal, both governments would refrain from pursuing any policy that could lead to the assimilation of a national community or change the ethnic composition in any single region.
Further, it would secure national minorities their language rights in the areas of education, religion, culture and administration.
Szijjártó said Ukraine promised to study the proposal. Hopefully, at the next meeting in Milan on December 7, a bilateral discussion of the proposal will ensue based on merit, he added.
It is clear that “rebuilding confidence requires several small steps to be taken,” he said. It has been a positive development that a signature drive initiating the deportation of ethnic Hungarians from Transcarpathia has been removed from the Ukrainian parliament’s website, he added.
“We consider it a very positive sign that Ukraine has taken it seriously that this issue is completely unsuitable to Europe in the 21st century,” he said.
He added that Klimkin has recently expressed agreement with the view that “it would not be an exaggeration” to describe the petition as “disgusting.”
He said it was also a positive development that the Ukrainian authorities had launched an investigation regarding the appearance of “billboards with misleading information about ethnic Hungarian leaders.”
Under a new agreement, the Ukrainian government will appoint an official in charge of cross-border cooperation, Szijjártó said.
Hungarian deputy foreign minister Levente Magyar and the newly appointed Ukrainian official will meet as soon as possible in order to pave the way for the smooth continuation of an economic programme for Transcarpathia, he added.
In order to restore trust, Szijjártó told Klimkin that Budapest was ready to activate a 50 million dollar credit line to finance road building in Transcarpathia. Hungary is also ready to continue a scheme offering camps for children from families who had been affected by the fights in eastern Ukraine.
Szijjártó said he had informed Klimkin that Hungary would continue to offer one hundred scholarships annually to Ukrainian students in Hungarian universities.
“It is in Hungary’s interest that the conflict which has developed should be resolved as soon as possible,” Szijjártó said.
Featured image: MTI