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The leaders of the Visegrad Group held talks as equals rather than exerted pressure on one another when they issued a statement of solidarity with the Czech Republic in its diplomatic conflict with Russia, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday, in response to a question at a press conference on an unrelated matter. The prime ministers of the Visegrad Group based on mutual respect and reciprocal benefits issued the statement at the initiative of Czech Premier Andrej Babiš, he said.
All signatories expressed solidarity “with their Czech friends” and the text reflected the positions of each prime minister, Szijjártó said.
Asked about press reports saying that Hungary “vetoed a firm stance against Russia”, Szijjártó said that Hungary had expressed its solidarity in a joint foreign ministerial statement as early as last week.
Hungary has also complied with the Czech Republic’s request to help guarding and operating the Czech Consulate-General in Ekaterinburg as long as Prague would be able to replace its diplomats expelled or recalled from Russia, Szijjártó said. Hungary’s solidarity with the Czech Republic cannot be questioned, he said, adding that the government was not planning to take further steps in this affair.
The Czech Republic recently expelled 18 Russian diplomats who were identified as working for the Russian secret service. In response, Russia expelled 20 Czech diplomats. On Monday the Visegrad Four prime ministers held a videoconference at the initiative of Polish Premier Mateusz Mazowiecki. Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said later that solidarity with and support for Prague’s steps had been one of the issues on the agenda.