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Closer ties between Hungary and Romania would benefit both countries and central Europe as a whole, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Arad, in western Romania.

At a press conference held jointly with Hunor Kelemen, the head of Romania’s ethnic Hungarian RMDSZ party, Szijjártó said that “positive gestures” towards the ethnic Hungarian community in Transylvania would strengthen inter-state ties, and consequently the countries’ roles in the region. Hungary sees its own ethnic Romanian community as an important asset and continues to take steps to strengthen it, he said. Concerning the Valea Uzului (Úzvölgye) memorial cemetery in Romania, a resting place of Hungarian WW1 soldiers where Szekler demonstrators clashed with Romanians earlier this year, he called on Bucharest to delegate an “adequate negotiating partner” to the talks on settling the issue. “We especially expect the Romanian government to prevent further provocation,” he said, referring to a commemoration announced by Romanian nationalist organisations at the same site for Oct. 25.

Kelemen said his talks with Szijjártó focussed on the situation of the Hungarian community in Romania. He said the challenges for the ethnic Hungarian community would not change in the years to come.