Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto dismisses allegations of interference in Slovak internal affairs

Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, has dismissed criticism of his visit to Slovakia ahead of the general election, saying it was legitimate to take part in a public event in the company of candidates of the ethnic Hungarian Alliance.

“I was invited to Slovakia to inaugurate a Hungarian government-funded investment that will create local jobs, and to formally open a new road … linking our countries,” Szijjarto said in an interview published in local Hungarian daily Uj Szo on Wednesday.

Expressing hope that the Alliance would be successful in Slovakia, Szijjarto said: “Interestingly, almost all Slovak politicians have expressed the same wish to me.”

He said Hungary relied on strong representation in Bratislava to help shape bilateral relations.

Based on experiences in Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia, Szijjarto said the Hungarian community’s strong representation in those countries’ capitals advanced Hungary’s bilateral relations. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the Alliance party … because we want good relations with Slovakia,” he added.

Asked about his recent comments on Slovak domestic affairs, Szijjarto said that it was “hard not to notice” that every time a general election approached, conservative and patriotic politicians who endorsed national values “end up in court”.

“This has been the case in the United States and Czechia, too,” he said. “Of course it is entirely coincidental that a legal proceeding has just reached that phase in Slovakia.”

Asked why he had expressed support for the Smer party led by former prime minister Robert Fico, Szijjarto said: “I have never ever stood up for any party in Slovakia.”

“If Robert Fico becomes prime minister … then we will certainly have disputes, but there’ll also be issues on which we can cooperate…” He dismissed interpretations of his meeting with Fico as “a statement in support of Smer”.

Concerning the ban of dual citizenship in Slovakia, Szijjarto said: “It’s an issue which we never agreed on, and I don’t know if we ever will … We’ll never change our position on this, and I’m afraid the former prime minister won’t either, so this will surely not be an issue on which we could cooperate, or we could have mutual understanding.”

Asked about the large number of Middle Eastern asylum seekers amassing in southern Slovakia ahead of the upcoming elections, Szijjarto said: “Let’s not pretend that migration’s a new development … illegal migrants and people smugglers are armed, and Brussels continues to deny us any help in protecting the external borders of the EU.”

Answering a question about Poland, Szijjarto said their respective governments engaged in “extremely close cooperation regarding all European affairs” despite their different approaches to achieving peace in Ukraine, which had “driven us in different directions”.


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