Hungary's new president visits Poland in 1st trip abroad

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WARSAW, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Katalin Novak, Hungary's newly elected president, visited the Polish capital on Tuesday on her first foreign trip as head of state to discuss relations between the two countries with her Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

Novak also met Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, which took place three days after her inauguration.

The relations between Poland and Hungary represent a historic alliance, which in recent years has been compounded by the ideological alignment of their ruling conservative parties.

"It was clear to me that my first foreign trip had to be to Poland," she said during a joint press conference with Duda.

Relations between Budapest and Warsaw have soured slightly over their disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, in which Poland takes a firm pro-Kiev stance, while Hungary is resisting tougher sanctions against Russia.

Hungary's government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, does not let weapons shipments through its territory to Ukraine and has refused to endorse the European Union's (EU) sanctions on Russian fossil energy.

Poland, in contrast, has been pushing for such an embargo in the EU -- a measure that would require unanimity within the bloc.

Russia has halted all gas deliveries to Poland after the country's refusal to accept a payment scheme enforced by Moscow that would force energy companies to pay in Russian rubles instead of euros or U.S. dollars.

Hungary, meanwhile, was one of the first European countries to signal its readiness to accept such an arrangement even before the European Commission published an advisory that stipulated ways to conform to Russia's payment demands without breaking the existing sanctions against the Russian Central Bank. Enditem

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