Convening NATO-Ukr Commission W/o Unanimity 'Violates' NATO Unity - Szijjártó

Int’l Relations

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A decision by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to convene a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, in spite of Hungary's opposition, is a "violation of NATO unity", Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said during a break at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday. 

After meeting with Stoltenberg in the morning, Szijjártó said the NATO secretary general had convened a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission -- the decision-making body responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship and for directing cooperative activities -- for April 4, in spite of Hungary's opposition on the grounds that Ukraine is "undermining the rights of national minorities, including the Hungarian national minority".

He noted that Hungary's government has not consented to calling a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission repeatedly in recent years and said the country holds the position that the meeting should be convened only by unanimous decision. 

Szijjártó claimed that "enormous pressure" on Hungary's government "from both sides of the Atlantic" to "give up its defense of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia", in the west of Ukraine, but said the government will continue to stand up for the ethnic minority "no matter how big the pressure".

He acknowledged that Stoltenberg "took seriously" Hungary's concerns over the ethnic minority in Ukraine and pledged to discuss the issue at the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.

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