Credit: MFA

Czech Foreign Minister Stresses Importance of Dialogue Ahead of Hungary Visit

Despite differing views on the threat from Russia, it is important to talk honestly with partners about it, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) told journalists before his departure for Budapest yesterday, where he will meet his counterpart Peter Szijjarto this morning.

The Czech Republic and Hungary differ significantly in their views on the causes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and on the forms of aid they are willing to provide to the embattled country. While the Czech Republic is also providing military aid, Hungary is not willing to do so.

“We will discuss Czech-Hungarian relations, but also security, the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and the overall situation in Europe,” Lipavsky said.

“There are different views on the Russian threat, but I still think we need to talk very carefully and honestly about these issues with countries like Hungary,” he noted. The whole of Europe, he said, is facing a Russian hybrid war.

He said he had a fair and professional relationship with Szijjarto. It is the first time they will hold talks in Budapest in a bilateral format.

At a recent meeting of the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary) in Prague, Lipavsky said all sides agreed that Russia had violated international law in Ukraine and that the invaded country should be recognised within its 1991 borders.

“But I think we need to have a deeper debate about what the threats and risks are for our countries in Central Europe. That is my goal, which is one of the things I am heading to Budapest to do,” Lipavsky said.

After his meeting with Szijjarto this morning, Lipavsky will give a lecture on Central Europe and the Czech perspective on the war in Ukraine at Ludovika University in the afternoon. In the evening, he will meet the Mayor of Budapest at the City Hall to discuss cooperation between the two capitals. Lipavsky will conclude his visit with an evening meeting at the Czech Embassy with representatives of NGOs and independent journalists.

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