Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary, Serbia directly affected by war, migration

Hungary and Serbia are directly and severely affected by the war in Ukraine and illegal migration, and they both have an interest in the armed conflict ending as soon as possible, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after meeting his Serbian counterpart on Tuesday.

Few other countries in Europe are affected by the two simultaneous security challenges to such an extent, the ministry said, citing Szijjarto, who addressed a joint press conference with Ivica Dacic. “The prologation of the war and its possible escalation pose severe risks for both countries,” he added.

Neither Hungarians nor Serbs are responsible for the war, but both nations are paying its price, he said.

“We understand that it does not appear such a severe issue from hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, but those that cause an extension or escalation of the war act against our national interests,” Szijjarto added.

He said both countries profited greatly from bilateral cooperation, as demonstrated by the record-high 75 percent increase in Hungary-Serbia trade last year.

“The pledge to Hungary’s energy security” currently lies with Serbia, he said, with the TurkStream the only east-west gas pipeline on the continent which operates at 100 percent capacity, he said. Last year, 4.8 billion cubic metres of natural gas came to Hungary from Serbia, nearly half of total consumption, and some 438 million cubic metres flowed in the other direction, he added.

Hungary is ready to carry out new infrastructure developments towards enhancing the security of Serbia’s crude oil supplies, and the sides will double the capacity of electricity links between the two countries within five years, he said.

In response to a question concerning turmoil between Serbia and Kosovo, Szijjarto said Hungary had an interest in a peaceful solution and compromise through dialogue. Accepting Kosovo into various European organisations prematurely would destabilise the path towards achieving a compromise, so the government will vote against Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe if a vote is held on it, he added.

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