Hungarian Official’s Claim River Mura is Border with Slovenia a “Mistake”

By , 11 Mar 2022, 16:19 PM Politics
Somewhere along the River Mura Somewhere along the River Mura Wikimedia - Jacquesverlaeken CC-by-SA-2.0

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STA, 11 March 2022 - High-ranking Slovenian politicians have condemned a statement by a Hungarian state secretary who labelled Mura as the border between Slovenia and Hungary. The river actually runs between 20 and 30 kilometres from the current official border between the two countries.

The statement by Secretary of State for National Policy Árpád János Potápi was uttered in the Težišče (Súlypont in Hungarian) show at the national broadcaster TV Slovenija for the Hungarian minority, which was run on Thursday.

MP Jožef Horvat of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) labelled the statement as an international incident that should be responded to resolutely. He has called Foreign Minister Anže Logar this morning to demand a resolute response.

Horvat, who has also demanded a response from the government, said that "on behalf of Slovenians and Hungarians who have lived together in coexistence for many decades in Prekmurje, I would like to tell the state secretary to leave us alone."

He noted that Hungarians and Slovenians had proven that they knew how to live in coexistence in the north-eastern region that borders Hungary, and that people were disappointed and appalled by such incidents.

Dejan Židan, an MP of the opposition Social Democrats (SD), said that senior Slovenian politicians should immediately respond to such an "aggressive statement".

He noted that he had been warning in the past that action should be taken when senior Hungarian politicians posed in front of a maps of Greater Hungary. Slovenian statesmen are silent about this and agree to something that is unimaginable, he added.

Židan expects an response from the Slovenian government that will protect Slovenia's integrity and stop any attempts of encroachment on it.

Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič responded on Twitter, saying that the "statement is inadmissible" and that it should not go unnoticed by senior Slovenian politicians, and tagging President Borut Pahor, PM Janez Janša and Foreign Minister Logar.

Defence Minister Matej Tonin said on Twitter that he had met the Hungarian ambassador on the sidelines of a Visegrad Group meeting to talk with him "about the inappropriate statement by State Secretary Potápi regarding Prekmurje".

"The Hungarian ambassador apologised for the uttered words, which was allegedly a slip of the tongue. He made assurances that Hungary has no territorial aspirations and is committed to good neighbourly relations," the minister said.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in a press release it had immediately summoned Ambassador Andor F. David and demanded an explanation.

"We noted the sensitivity of the topic. The Mura being mentioned as a border river opens possibilities for different interpretations, which can harm bilateral relations and human relations, especially in Prekmurje," the ministry said.

The Hungarian embassy has already issued a release explaining that the statement was a "slip of the tongue" and that the border between Hungary and Slovenia was indisputably determined by an international treaty.

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