Budapest, February 24 (MTI) – If there is any country that is interested in Ukraine being politically and economically strong, with peace throughout its area, then it is Hungary, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.
It is a basic interest that the sides involved in the conflict should make every effort to fully enforce the Minsk Agreement on Ukraine, he said after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in Budapest. It is also a precondition for discontinuing the current policy of sanctions, which is in everybody’s interest because it damages not only the countries targeted, he added.
It is in Hungary’s interest to continue to strengthen relations in every area with Ukraine, Szijjártó said, adding that the security of the 150,000-strong Hungarian community was for Hungary equally important.
Szijjártó noted Hungary’s support for Ukraine’s European integration efforts and the lifting of the visa regime, as well as its support expressed as member of the Visegrad Four grouping for reforms in the neighbouring country.
The war in Ukraine has posed security risks, seriously damaged the economy and brought about a decline in bilateral trade with Hungary to half over the past two years, he added.
Szijjártó said Hungary has so far contributed 2.3 billion forints (EUR 7.41m) in assistance to the Transcarpathian region and provided aid worth another 230 million forints to other regions in Ukraine.
In an effort to boost bilateral economic cooperation, Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 27 million dollar credit line to promote joint ventures, two trading offices have been opened in Berehove and Uzhhorod and new border crossing points are planned, Szijjártó said.
Klimkin welcomed Hungary’s insistence on the fulfilment of the Minsk Agreement because he said that is the only way towards ensuring peace.
He thanked Hungary’s support in his country’s EU integration and visa lifting, and agreed on the need of boosting bilateral economic cooperation.
The Ukrainian foreign minister later met Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog to sign an agreement on grants offered to 100 Ukrainian students to study at Hungarian universities under the Stipendium Hungaricum scheme from next September.
Balog said that Hungary would host Ukrainian children for summer holidays this year. Last summer 700 Ukrainian children attended summer camps here.
He noted that Hungary’s Maltese and Reformed charities had so far delivered 100 million forints worth of aid to Transcarpathia and other regions in Ukraine.