Ahead of Zelenskyy-Orban talks, Hungary warns it will not budge from 'peaceful' rhetoric
Viktor Orban (photo - EPA-EFE - MAX SLOVENCIK)

Work is currently underway to organize a meeting between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, but Budapest will not change its "peaceful" position, stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, following a conversation with the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak.

Yermak called the conversation with Szijjarto "productive" and said that work is underway to organize a meeting between the two leaders "in the near future."

Zelenslyy's chief-of-staff also said that he and Szijjarto discussed the advancement of Ukraine on the European integration path.

The Hungarian minister wrote about Budapest's interest in supporting "the best possible cooperation with all neighbors" and expressed hope for improved relations between the two states.

"Of course, we will not change our peaceful position, but I am waiting for our personal meeting (with Yermak – ed.) in January, because there we will have the opportunity to discuss the most pressing bilateral issues," he said.

Orban said on December 21 that he approved Zelenskyy's invitation to hold a bilateral meeting "at some point in the future," but "only one question remains to be clarified: what [to discuss]?"

According to the Deputy Head of the Office of the President Ihor Zhovkva, the potential negotiations will concern bilateral relations between Ukraine and Hungary – "this is a wide spectrum, and it is not limited to the issues of national minorities."

The Hungarian Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that Budapest opposes the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the bloc. However, on December 14, the European Council did agree to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. Orban left the hall during the vote.

The next day, Orban vetoed the allocation of 50 billion euros to support Ukraine from the EU. According to the FT, EU member states may deprive Hungary of the right to vote to approve the aid package.