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Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after his talks with Milorad Dodik, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to you all. Today Hungary has been honoured by a visit from President Dodik. The story of this meeting is a fitting symbol of the friendship between Serbs and Hungarians, as the Honourable President has come here to visit the Serbian community in Hungary, while also honouring us with a visit to Szentendre. He met and had extensive talks with the representatives of Serbs in Hungary, for which we are grateful. We are pleased that Serbian leaders care about the fate of Serbs in Hungary. Thank you for caring about this minority, which is also so important for us. Serbian-Hungarian relations can only be healthy and strong if Hungarians in Serbia and Serbs in Hungary feel at home, looking upon the country in which they live as their home. This visit has strengthened this feeling. And as part of his visit the Honourable President has also honoured us by engaging in talks with the Hungarian government, and I am also grateful for this.

These talks focused on two issues. First of all, we spoke about the situation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we spoke about Bosnian-Hungarian relations. We agreed that Hungary must continue to support Bosnia’s efforts to strengthen the unity of the country, and to foster the closest possible relations with the European Union. Therefore we agreed to further strengthen our high-level relations with Sarajevo. And there was another issue at the centre of our talks: Hungary’s relations with Serbs living in Bosnia – or, if you like, relations between Banja Luka and Budapest. The President and I concluded that the level of these relations is not currently worthy of our two countries. The closeness of these relations is not what it should be, given the opportunities that exist. We therefore agreed that, in addition to relations between Hungary and Sarajevo, Budapest will also build close political and economic relations with Banja Luka. We have confirmed our intention on this, and we shall launch long-term political and economic cooperation between Republika Srpska and Hungary. I believe that there are wide-ranging opportunities in this cooperation. I believe that Serbian-Hungarian friendship offers solid foundations for strong economic and political cooperation.

Today has convinced me that President Dodik is a friend of Serbian-Hungarian cooperation, and that we can also rely on his support in cooperation between Banja Luka and Budapest. Honourable President, we are grateful for your visit, and for your having opened such an important new chapter in relations between our two countries.