Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Szijjarto: War threatens rise in migration, terrorism

The global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine could lead to a rise in migration waves which could then be infiltrated by members of terrorist organisations, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Budapest on Thursday.

According to a foreign ministry statement, Szijjarto told a meeting of the working group of the global coalition fighting the Islamic State terrorist group dealing with foreign fighters that even when international attention is being focused on the war in Ukraine, other security challenges should not be forgotten.

Terrorist organisations always try to use such unstable situations to their advantage, Szijjarto said, noting that Islamic State leaders had recently called for new attacks to be carried out in Europe. This was why, Szijjarto said, it was crucial to end the armed conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible.

Szijjarto also noted that Russian and Ukrainian grain exports were critical to the food supply of countries that were “already prone to instability”.

“It is a lot easier for extremist ideologies to spread in times of famine,” Szijjarto said. “Violence rears its head, which leads to serious emigration waves, creating the best breeding ground for terrorism.”

The minister also touched on the link between illegal migration waves and terrorism, arguing that migration waves could be infiltrated by terrorists.

The Hungarian authorities have prevented some 215,000 people from crossing the border illegally so far this year, he said, adding that proceedings have been launched against 1,500 people smugglers this year alone. Also, the number of migrants arriving via the Western Balkan route is increasingly reminiscent of the situation seen during the 2015 migration crisis, he said.

“These migrants bring a new dimension of violence and aggression, given that they’re now armed . they’re shooting at each other and threatening the Hungarian police officers and soldiers protecting the Hungarian border,” he said.

Szijjarto urged support for the Western Balkans in guaranteeing their own and the rest of Europe’s security, adding that the European Union should make it clear to would-be migrants that they should not set off for the continent.

Security, stability and the fight against terrorism have always been important to central Europe, Szijjarto said. It is important in the current security crisis to join forces with the Western Balkans in the fight against terrorism, he added.

Szijjarto also touched on Hungary’s protection of persecuted Christians, noting that the Hungary Helps humanitarian programme has so far helped some half a million people remain in or return to their homelands. The government will carry on with the scheme in spite of the current economic difficulties, he said.

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