Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungarian viewpoints enforced in NATO’s extended support programme for Ukraine

Hungary's viewpoints regarding the extension of NATO's 2016 programme on providing practical support to Ukraine have been successfully enforced, the foreign minister said in Brussels on Wednesday, noting that under the programme non-lethal equipment can be provided solely on a voluntary basis to that country.

Peter Szijjarto told a press conference after attending a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council that the North Atlantic Alliance’s decision was still valid that everything had to be done to avoid direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. He said that despite “an atmosphere of war” experienced as dominating the meeting, the NATO decision was not called into question by any of the participants. “The allies in fact made it clear today that Ukraine’s NATO membership under the current circumstances is out of the question,” the minister said.

The meeting approved the extension of the NATO’s support programme for Ukraine which was launched in 2016, well ahead of the outbreak of the war with Russia. During the preparatory phase, the Hungarian government represented two major viewpoints. Those included the option of enabling each member state to decide whether it wanted to participate in the programme and allowing the delivery solely of non-lethal equipment, Szijjarto said, welcoming that those points had been successfully enforced.

The minister asserted that Hungary supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“It must be made clear however that the war raging in that country is not Europe’s war, it is not fought either for the continent’s peace or for its democracy,” he said, adding that Hungary highly appreciated Ukraine’s “heroic fight” for its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, but rejected any approach that considered the war that of Europe’s.

Concerning the matter of Ukraine’s NATO integration, Szijjarto said it was not timely for two reasons. One, he said, was that the alliance’s basic treaty disallows the integration of a country fighting a war because it would risk the outbreak of a third world war. The other, Szijjarto said, was that a country where national minority rights were being constantly restricted had no place in the alliance which is a community of values.

NATO has required from Ukraine the implementation of a reform programme in which, at Hungary’s initiative, provisions on observing the rights of the country’s national communities had also been incorporated, said Szijjarto. “The Hungarian government will monitor the enforcement of these NATO-level expectations as closely as possible,” he said, adding that Hungary had maintained its position ever since the restrictions including the Hungarian community’s right to the use of their mother tongue had begun eight years ago.

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