Europe

Hungary's leader urges Hungarian minority to vote in Romania

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is greeted by Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania party Hunor Kelemen, left, as he visits candidates of the party for the upcoming Romanian general elections in Satu Mare, Northwestern Romania, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is greeted by Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania party Hunor Kelemen, left, as he visits candidates of the party for the upcoming Romanian general elections in Satu Mare, Northwestern Romania, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, speaks as Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania party Hunor Kelemen looks on during a joint press conference following their meeting in Satu Mare, Northwestern Romania, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Orban visited candidates of the party for the upcoming Romanian general elections. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, speaks as Chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania party Hunor Kelemen looks on during a joint press conference following their meeting in Satu Mare, Northwestern Romania, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Orban visited candidates of the party for the upcoming Romanian general elections. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Hungary's prime minister is urging the Hungarian minority in Romania to vote in Sunday's parliamentary election there and "speak up for their own interests."

Prime Minister Viktor Orban spoke Thursday during a visit to western Romania, home to a large Hungarian minority. He says Romania's government is not doing everything it can to help local Hungarians who he says "do not always receive the respect they deserve."

The minority group's rights have long been a contentious issue between the neighboring countries and Orban's government has stepped up the rhetoric recently.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto banned Hungarian diplomats from participating in Romania's national day celebrations on Dec. 1, commemorating the 1918 incorporation into Romania of Transylvania, an area long dominated by Hungary.

Orban met Hungarian minority leaders in Satu Mare, Romania.