“Hungary has vetoed the joint statement on Ukraine by NATO ambassadors”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at the Eurasia Forum in Budapest on Wednesday. “Hungary refuses to sacrifice the Transcarpathian Hungarian community on the altar of geopolitics”, the Minister said.

“The issuing of a joint statement is common practice following a meeting of NATO ambassadors, but Hungary vetoed it on this occasion”, he emphasised. Mr. Szijjártó stressed that during the course of preparative work, the Hungarian government had made several proposals with relation to the fact that the statement should include clauses that would require Ukraine to reinstate the rights that have been taken away from the Hungarian community.

“We would have liked this joint statement to include a sentence stating that the Ukrainians must fulfil their obligations as set down by international law and international organisations. We also made proposals citing the Council of Europe and the UN with relation to minority affairs”, he added.

These proposals were not adopted, and accordingly “we had no choice but to veto the statement”, the Minister said.

“The interests of the 150-thousand-strong Transcarpathian Hungarian minority are not so important on the other side of the ocean, but we live here in Central Europe, and the interests of a single Hungarian are enough for us to stand up for them”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.

“Hungary has made it clear that the minimum level of solidarity between allies in NATO would be for a joint statement of this nature to say something about the rights that have been stripped from a minority belonging to one of the organisation’s member states, and to require that those rights are duly reinstated”, he said.