Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Cooperation among democracies must be based on mutual respect

Cooperation among the world's democracies must be based on mutual respect rather than criticising and lecturing other countries, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in New York on Wednesday.

Szijjarto spoke at a ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies held as part of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

In his address, Szijjarto said the differences in countries’ historical, cultural and religious heritage had resulted in them becoming different types of democracies. The minister said liberal democracies were attempting to “monopolise democracy”, which he called “a pretty anti-democratic approach”.

“I think that liberal democracy is only a type of democracy and not… democracy itself,” Szijjarto said.

He said democracy meant that people were in a position to make decisions on their own future and the future of their country. “I think no one has the right to characterise a political system as autocratic or dictatorial just because the people gave a clear mandate and just because one political family has a clear majority in its own parliament,” he added.

Szijjarto said the pandemic had demonstrated democracies’ interdependence on each other, adding that this recognition brought “fresh air” to international cooperation.

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