Hamas militants - Photo: Israeli Defence Forces (archive)

Szijjarto asks Israeli counterpart to promote efforts for release of remaining Hungarian hostages

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has asked Eli Cohen, his Israeli counterpart, to promote efforts for the release of Hamas's two remaining Hungarian hostages.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Skopje on Thursday, Szijjarto said the security situation in the Middle East remained concerning, as it was unknown how long the Gaza truce would last and how many more of the Hamas terrorist group’s hostages would be released.

“We consider it especially good news that a ceasefire agreement was reached, and we hope that as many hostages as possible will be freed from captivity,” he said, according to a ministry statement.

Concerning his talks with Cohen in Skopje, Szijjarto said he had thanked his counterpart for Israel having been a reliable partner since the start of the conflict when it came to the Hungarians who were in trouble.

He noted that the Hungarian citizens who had been in Israel had been “evacuated relatively quickly” and that the Hungarian citizens who had been stranded in Gaza had also been among the first to get out. Also, all three of the Hungarian hostages who were women or children have gone free, he added.

“I asked my counterpart for Israel’s help in freeing the two male hostages with Hungarian citizenship as soon as possible, too,” the foreign minister said.

Szijjarto welcomed that one of the two hostages had been confirmed to be alive, saying “it would be good if the other hostage was also found and if they could both return home as soon as possible.”

He said Cohen had reaffirmed that securing the safe release of all of Hamas’s hostages was also in Israel’s interest, adding that they hoped the Hungarian hostage confirmed to be alive could go free as soon as possible.

“We have, of course, also asked Qatar’s government for its help in the matter, and we hope to receive clear proof as soon as possible that the other Hungarian being held hostage is also alive,” Szijjarto said.

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