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Hungarian-Slovak relations should be based on mutual respect, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told MTI by phone from Washington, DC, after meeting Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák on the sidelines of the celebration of NATO’s 70th anniversary. The ethnic Hungarian community in Slovakia will be an asset in that process, Szijjártó said.
The ministers met after it came to light that Slovakia had accepted a law amendment in March banning the singing of a foreign country’s anthem on its soil, unless an official delegation of that country was present. Szijjártó said he had discussed the issue with József Menyhárt, head of Slovakia’s Party of the Hungarian Community, and Tibor Bastrnák, the group leader of Most-Híd, a junior ruling party. “We shall stay informed, watch upcoming events carefully and examine the legal ramifications; to our knowledge, a satisfying solution may be close by,” he said. The amendment, due to come into effect on May 15, is said to be designed to ban the Hungarian anthem from sports events. Breaching the regulation is punishable with a fine of up to 7,000 euros.