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The government will never abandon efforts to protect ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia "even in the face of massive pressure from both sides of the Atlantic", Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday.

Speaking after talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Szijjártó said NATO’s plans to convene a ministerial level meeting of the NATO-Ukraine committee undermined NATO unity. He added that the Hungarian government would withhold support for Ukraine joining NATO until “Hungarian minority rights are restored” there. Concerning his talks with Stoltenberg, Szijjártó quoted the NATO chief as saying that “Hungary is a reliable NATO ally that contributes to the security of the European and Transatlantic community.” He added that the Hungarian government considered NATO a “community of values” and only countries that honour the rights of ethnic minorities “should get close to NATO”. “Regrettably, this is not the case in Ukraine,” he said. “The rights of ethnic minorities, including those of the Hungarian community, have been continuously eroded since 2015,” he said. That is why the Hungarian government has been blocking proposals to convene the NATO-Ukraine committee in recent years, he added.