Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

President: ‘The more people our call for peace reaches, the greater its effect is going to be’

Hungarians are a peace and freedom loving people, President Katalin Novak said in an interview broadcast by news channel Hir TV on Sunday, Christmas Eve, expressing her hope that "the more people our call for peace reaches, the greater its effect is going to be".

Novak said “a sense of fear has embedded itself under our skin” since “a devastating war” broke out in neighbouring Ukraine a year and a half ago, adding however that “that fear, although less palpable now … is still with us”.

The president asked Hungarians “to think about Transcarpathian Hungarians now, at Christmas time”. “There, recruiting officers can knock on the door of local Hungarians at any minute to take the men to the frontline and family members at home are constantly worried for those fighting on the battlefield,” she said.

“It is now that we feel how valuable peace – that we here, in Hungary have – is,” Novak said. “That peace we have is however extremely fragile and it is under threat.”

Novak said that for Hungary, nurturing close relations not only with Ukraine and with its neighbours, but also “with all of its allies around the world” was of immense help. “If we have the ties, if we open doors that were closed or appeared to be so, then we will have a greater chance to make the voice of Hungarians heard in every corner of the world,” she said.

The president said that “we must accept one another even if we think differently about matters of the world” and underlined the importance of showing respect to someone else with a different opinion and seeking the possibility of a compromise.

Speaking about Hungarian communities beyond the borders, Novak said they had tightened their cooperation in the current difficult situation. The president said she trusted that “some sort of reconciliation” would develop between Hungarians and Ukrainians in Transcarpathia, which she called “indispensable” for their long-term coexistence.

Novak said that being the first woman to serve as Hungary’s president carried responsibility. “It may give inspiration and encouragement to other women which goes to show that today nothing is out of reach for a woman in Hungary,” she said. “I trust that my openness to the world will help more and more people to feel that I am also their president.”

Speaking about the importance of family, Novak said “our family is the circle in which we start the day every morning and to where we return every evening. In the absence of a family a void opens in our lives every day”.

Novak said Christmas to her was “the most important and most awaited family holiday and, as a Reformed Christian believer, the birth of Jesus”. “This is a message of joy, the miracle of birth,” said the president, wishing everybody a Merry Christmas.

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