Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

International community should focus on achieving peace in Ukraine, minister says

Szijjarto: Hungarian government proven right on key issues of recent years

Though Hungary's stance has regularly come under attack by the international liberal mainstream on a number of issues, the Hungarian government has been repeatedly proven right on the most important issues in recent years, the foreign minister told a meeting of Hungarian ambassadors on Monday.

This year’s “record-breaking” general election outcome is also a vindication of Hungary’s foreign policy achievements, the foreign ministry cited Peter Szijjarto as saying, adding that this should encourage the country to implement its current strategy even more firmly.

“We have had to do our job against a strong headwind in recent years, given that our government strategy goes against the international liberal mainstream in a fundamental way,” the minister said. “This means that we obviously cannot hope for any mercy or support in this aspect. Neither do we want any, as we don’t even need it.”

Szijjarto emphasised that the Hungarian government had been proven right on every single important issue. “It turned out that our positions and decisions that were attacked by the mainstream with elemental force were the correct positions and decisions,” he said.

The minister cited Hungary’s decision to oppose immigration, provide effective coronavirus vaccines irrespective of their country of origin, support investments over offering welfare and stay out of the war in Ukraine as key examples.

A successful foreign policy is one that is based on the enforcement of national interests, Szijjarto said, adding that this also required “a great deal of toughness, but it’s clear that it yields results”.

Hungary’s foreign policy strategy is based on mutual respect and its goal is to build the best possible relations in the interest of Hungary’s progress, he said.

“We don’t send any of our ambassadors anywhere with the purpose of telling those in the given country how they should run things, because that is none of our business,” he said, adding that the same was true vice versa. “We won’t tolerate the representative of another country thinking that they’re coming here to teach us how to live a better or different kind of life in the future, either, because we don’t want it, thank you very much,” Szijjarto added.

The minister said Hungary needed to be shielded from the negative effects of the current “era of crises and threats”. But, he added, this required identifying the threats.

Szijjarto highlighted the war in Ukraine and its consequences on security, stressing that Hungary was sticking to its decision not to send weapons to Ukraine. He also noted the economic downturn caused by the armed conflict, adding, at the same time, that Hungary could still see record exports and investments this year despite the economic challenges.

As regards energy security, Szijjarto said this was an issue the government would not compromise on. No international political goal could supersede the government’s responsibility to ensure the country’s energy supply, he said, adding that Budapest would not even discuss the possibility of energy sanctions at a European Union level.

“All the window dressing that the western half of Europe has been doing when it comes to energy supply simply isn’t sustainable with winter approaching,” the minister said, adding that Russian energy imports could not be replaced either in the short or the medium term.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said the food crisis could result in the emergence of new migration waves, “in which case a pro-migration policy from Brussels could have disastrous effects”.

Szijjarto also talked about “flawed European responses”, saying that Hungary needed to be a “rational voice” even if this led to “unfair political attacks”.

The minister said some in Europe were trying to give “the false impression that we Hungarians are isolated”. “First of all, this isn’t even true when it comes to Europe . and what’s more, respect for the Hungarian government, and specifically Hungarian foreign policy outside this European and North American communications bubble is at an all-time high,” Szijjarto said.

International community should focus on achieving peace in Ukraine, minister says

The international community should favour measures that help bring about peace in Ukraine instead of those that risk escalating the conflict, Szijjarto said on the sidelines of the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia on Monday. The armed conflict has a severely negative impact on the entirety of Europe in areas like the economy and energy supply, the foreign ministry cited Szijjarto as saying after the opening of the forum.

“Since we are physically and geographically close to the war and in its neighbourhood, its impact on us is more severe than its average impact on Europe,” Szijjarto said. “Achieving peace as soon as possible is therefore in our fundamental interest here in Hungary and central Europe.”

“We urge the international community to prioritise measures and decisions that help bring about peace, and we want aspirations that risk the escalation, continuation or — God forbid — spread of the war beyond Ukraine to take a back seat,” he said.

Szijjarto said the Hungarian government was sticking to its decision not to send weapons to Ukraine or allow the transit of weapons deliveries through its territory into Ukraine and would not even discuss potential energy sanctions.

He said the sanctions imposed on Russia would not contribute to a swift resolution of the conflict and would hurt Europe a lot more than they hurt Russia.

The focus, he said, should be on achieving peace as soon as possible, adding that this required direct dialogue between the warring sides. He suggested that respected countries and international players should play a mediating role between Ukraine and Russia.

“Because if the policy of sanctions continues, if the developments continue to point in the direction of escalation, this will have a very harmful effect on central Europe, and we want to avoid that,” Szijjarto said.

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