Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Food crisis fuelled by Ukraine war threatens emergence of new migration waves

The global food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine could lead to the emergence of new migration waves, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in New York on Thursday, urging greater support from the international community for countries in a difficult situation.

Szijjarto is scheduled to address the United Nations Security Council’s debate on food security, according to a ministry statement. The minister said Hungary will donate seed, ten tonnes of corn, five tonnes of potato and half a tonne of sunflowers to farmers in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region.

Because Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s top grain exporters, their conflict will significantly reduce their exports, which will likely put countries already facing serious challenges into a more difficult situation, Szijjarto said.

This, he said, could lead to a rise of extremist ideologies in those places, increasing the threat of terrorism, which in turn threatened the emergence of new migration waves.

Szijjarto said the war in Ukraine posed both a direct and indirect security risk to Hungary because of the proximity of the fighting and the influx of immigrants.

Szijjarto is also scheduled to address a forum evaluating the UN’s global migration compact, where he will express the Hungarian government’s continued disagreement with the document.

He said migration had resulted in the emergence of parallel societies and an increased threat of terrorism in western Europe, adding that migrants were incapable of integrating into western society and were “putting pressure on a society that’s been living there for centuries”.

“It is clear that we, Hungarians were right,” Szijjarto said. “Migration should not be encouraged but stopped, as this is what is in our security interest, because a life of peace and security in one’s homeland is one of the most fundamental of human rights,” he added. “This is threatened by migration.”

He said Hungary last year stopped some 130,000 illegal migrants on its southern border, adding that some 65,000 had been stopped this year already, indicating that migration pressure was on the rise again.

Hungary is proud that it was one of the five countries to vote against the global migration compact at the end of 2018, he said. “There were few of us, but we ended up being right,” he added.

The ministry said later on Thursday that Szijjarto had told the forum evaluating the UN’s global migration compact that Hungary was focusing on supporting families instead of receiving illegal migrants.

“Hungary respects the approach of countries that consider migration as a tool to address demographic and labour market challenges but we apply a different approach,” he said. “We support families and send support to the places where it is needed in order to help locals live in dignity and security,” he added.

“Just as we recognise the approach used by other countries, we expect others to respect our position and we implement our migration policy on the gounds of national sovereignty,” he said.

Szijjarto is later scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to discuss energy security. Turkey is one of the most important transit countries for gas delivered to Hungary, he said.

The minister will then meet Zoran Tegeltija, prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to discuss the security situation of the Western Balkans.

He will also hold bilateral talks with his Guatemalan and Philippines counterparts, Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores and Teodoro Locsin Jr., respectively.

Szijjarto is also set to meet with executives of automotive industry supplier Arconic and health industry company Becton Dickinson.

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