Hungary vetoed a joint declaration of NATO ambassadors on Ukraine, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó noted at the Eurasia Forum in Budapest on Wednesday, as it did not compel Ukraine to hand back rights it stripped from the ethnic Hungarian minority.
The minister said that
Hungary was not prepared to sacrifice the interests of 150,000 ethnic Hungarians in western Ukraine to geopolitical interests.
Hungary submitted several amendment proposals to the declaration stating that Ukraine must fulfill its duties towards minorities according to international law, and several of the proposals were based on the tenets of the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Since these proposals were rejected, “we had no other choice than to veto the declaration”, Szijjártó added.
Szijjártó said the interests of the 150,000-strong Hungarian minority in western Ukraine “are not so important on the other side of the ocean”.
“But we live here in central and eastern Europe, and the interest of a Hungarian is a enough reason for us to stand by him.”
Stripping the rights of a minority belonging to one of the NATO member states should at least merit mention in such a document, Szijjártó said, adding that the document should include a clause on reinstating those rights.