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Hungarian Foreign Minister Visits Kyiv Ahead Of Planned Orban-Zelenskiy Summit In July


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (right) greets his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, in Kyiv on June 25.

KYIV – The Ukrainian and Hungarian foreign ministers have met for the second time in less that a month as the two neighboring states seek to overcome an impasse over a restrictive language law in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, met in Kyiv on June 25 as they chaired a session of the Ukrainian-Hungarian Economic Cooperation Commission.

After the talks, Kuleba said that officials from both countries will meet to discuss Ukraine's controversial language law before a summit between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban can take place in Kyiv in July as scheduled.

The minister said the sides planned to sign a memorandum during the summit that will "cover the whole range of issues concerning our bilateral cooperation."

On May 29, Kuleba travelled to Budapest where he and Szijjarto discussed, among other things, the Ukrainian language law, which Hungary says restricts the right of Ukraine's ethnic Hungarian minority of approximately 125,000 people to be educated in their native language.

Budapest has been blocking NATO initiatives aimed at building closer ties with Ukraine since the country in September 2017 adopted the law that emphasizes the instruction of Ukrainian in publicly funded schools and curtails the teaching of minority languages such as Romanian, Russian, and Hungarian.

Ukraine’s ethnic minorities and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have criticized the law, which PACE said "does not appear to strike an appropriate balance between the official language and the languages of national minorities."

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