18 March 202018:21

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during a joint statement for the media with Foreign Minister of Hungary Peter Szijjarto, Moscow, March 18, 2020

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Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held some very useful talks. We have discussed a wide spectrum of our bilateral relations, primarily in the context of the efforts being made to implement the agreements reached on September 30, 2019, during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Budapest and following his talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  

We have confirmed our shared interest in thoroughly developing our trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation and we have mapped out specific steps to encourage the advancement in all these spheres.

We have discussed in detail our cooperation in the military memorial field, something that we regard as particularly important in the light of upcoming events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Russia is consistently advocating – and President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said as much – the preservation of historical memory and is opposing attempts to falsify history and international legal results of the WWII.

We have exchanged views on the measures being taken by our two countries in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

We have spoken about relations between the Russian Federation and the EU. We see eye to eye on the fact that these ties are far from being rosy. There are numerous reasons for promoting mutually beneficial projects in a number of areas. Russia-NATO relations are of no small importance in the context of European affairs. We have invariably favoured them to be built on the principle of equal and indivisible security, as was repeatedly reaffirmed within the framework of the OSCE. Proclaimed at the top level in the OSCE, this objective is at odds with the eastern expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure and its attempts to view joint work as a zero-sum game. We value Hungary’s position with regard to the situation in the Euro-Atlantic region. Budapest has always advocated dialogue and is against an artificial confrontation. This, as I believe, is the only reasonable stance.

Russia and Hungary hold rather similar positions on the settlement of various crises in the Middle East and North Africa, including the Syrian settlement and the Libyan crisis. Today, we have agreed to invigorate our efforts with a view to implementing the joint initiative that was discussed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit last October. What I have in mind is rendering assistance to Christian communities in the Middle East.

In Ukraine, we are committed to implementing the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council and the decisions accepted by the Contact Group and the Normandy Four. Both our countries are concerned with Ukraine ensuring the rights of ethnic minorities, including educational and linguistic. This is required by the Ukrainian state’s international obligations and the Ukrainian Constitution.

On the whole, I regard this visit by my colleague and friend as quite timely and I am satisfied with how we have discussed the situation regarding bilateral relations and on the international arena.

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