Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto warns of ‘vicious circle’ of pandemic, migration

The coronavirus pandemic and migration form a "vicious circle", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at a United Nations conference in Geneva on Wednesday, arguing that the more the virus spreads, the more people will flee their home countries, spreading the virus even further.

Apart from its effects on public health, the pandemic also has a serious impact on global trade and the economy, Szijjarto said at the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries. The biggest impact is felt by the least developed countries, since they are the most vulnerable, he added.

The pandemic has also intensified the factors that drive mass migration, Szijjarto, who is the co-chair of the conference, said. This, he said, could lead to a “vicious circle” of migrants spreading the virus further, which then could force more people to flee their homes.

The minister emphasised the importance of providing help at the point where it is needed instead of causing problems where there are none, arguing that it was “complicated to imagine” that any illegal migrants could present two negative PCR tests.

Unless the developed countries offer more effective aid programmes for the countries in need, more and more mass migration waves will emerge, most of which will affect Europe, Szijjarto said, adding that the risk of this was growing due to the situation in Afghanistan.

As regards Hungary’s support for countries in need, Szijjarto said the government spent more than 400 million dollars on its international development schemes last year. This means that the country has surpassed its target of spending 0.25 percent of its GDP on development aid by 2025, he said.

Szijjarto also noted that Hungary has delivered some 1.6 million doses of Covid vaccines to the least developed countries.

Later today, Szijjarto is scheduled to meet the World Trade Organisation’s new deputy director-general and the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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