Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Sovereignty of foreign policy must be maintained

Europe is facing some serious security challenges, and in order to manage the situation effectively, the sovereignty of foreign policy must be maintained, the foreign minister said on Monday.

Peter Szijjarto said during a hearing by parliament’s foreign affairs committee that national interests must be enforced in the face of all foreign attempts at pressurising Hungary.

Europe is in the worst security situation since the end of the Cold War, with wars under way on the continent and in its direct vicinity, adding to a migration crisis that started eight years ago, he said.

“Hungary’s foreign policy strategy must be enforced successfully in this security context. We have not given up any of its sovereignty in the past and we will refuse to give up any of it also in the future,” he added.

Among the security challenges he firstly cited the armed conflict in Ukraine, stating that Europe’s strategy had failed, “Russia could not be brought to its knee and we are not getting any closer to peace” while the measures introduced have harmed the member states’ competitiveness.

He welcomed the majority of NATO states “demonstrating a responsible behaviour” by maintaining the decision that all efforts must be made to avoid direct confrontation with Russia which could carry the risk of a third world war.

He said the reform proposals submitted to Kyiv included demonstrating respect for national minority rights, which has been initiated by Hungary. All promises made by the Ukrainian government to this effect have proven empty so far despite Hungary clealy expecting the restoration of the pre-2015 situation in terms of national minority rights, he added.

Commenting on the situation in the Middle East, he said “the brutal attacks made against Israel resulted in a counter-terrorism offensive whose success is in everyone’s interest in the world”.

A war between states must be prevented because it would have unforeseable consequences, and “the international community must act responsibly in order to maintain hope for a return to the spirit of the Abraham Accords”, he added.

He cited the protection of civilian lives as an important Hungarian concern, stating that maintaining the stability of Egypt is crucial for European security.

He said that Hungarians were successfully evacuated from Israel at the start of the conflict and fourteen of the fifteen Hungarians who were in Gaza have also been evacuated. The only person who stayed wanted to do so, he added.

Of five Hungarians taken hostage by Hamas, three have been released and the government is working to have the remaining two released, he said.

Commenting on migration, he said some 275,000 illegal border crossing attempts had been prevented at Hungary’s souther border last year and over 200,000 this year.

“We continue to resist the pressure by Brussels to get migrants distributed on the basis of some sort of quota in Europe,” he said.

He added that the increasing threat of terrorism, the development of parallel societes and the growing number of gang wars in Europe were “the direct consequences of the EU’s migrant policy”.

Migration and terrorism form a vicious circle and the Hungarian government therefore supported all counter-terrorism action around the world, he said. Hungary contributes to such activities in line with its resources, for instance by sending Hungarian soldiers to Chad next year, he added.

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