Photo: Israeli Defence Forces (archive)

Foreign minister: World ‘in 24th hour’ to return to era of global cooperation

The world is "in the 24th hour" and must return to the era of connectivity and global cooperation instead of splintering into blocs, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Skopje on Thursday.
30. November 2023 16:36

Global security is at its worst since the end of the Cold War, and “this is especially true when it comes to Europe,” Szijjarto told a foreign ministerial council meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), according to a ministry statement.

In his address, Szijjarto noted that Hungary, as a neighbour of Ukraine, felt the direct negative impacts of the war, such as soaring inflation, and noted that the country had welcomed more than one million Ukrainian refugees.

Hungarians, he said, felt this impact even though they bore no responsibility for the war and even though “it is not our war”. He also noted that many of the ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region had died in the conflict.

“And we, Hungarians do not want more people to die,” he said. “We don’t want more Hungarians to die, but generally speaking, we don’t want more people to die in our neighbourhood.”

Szijjarto said the Hungarian government was doing everything possible in the interest of a diplomatic settlement, arguing that peace was the only solution and the only way to save lives and avoid further destruction.

He said it was “obvious that those who pretend” that there was a solution to the conflict in the battlefield “are not right” because there were only casualties and destruction there. He also said those who thought that the developments in the war would improve the chances for peace “are not right, either”. “Every day spent in this war makes the hope for peace worse and worse,” he said, adding that weapons deliveries also prolonged the fighting.

He also underscored the importance of keeping communication channels open, saying that without this, the world would be giving up the hope for peace.

Szijjarto commended the foreign minister of North Macedonia, which holds the OSCE’s rotating presidency, for his efforts to ensure the organisation’s survival and restart East-West cooperation and dialogue. At the same time, he expressed regret over the fact that there would be no direct communication between the United States and Russia at the meeting, although “such a . direct contact would be to the benefit of all of us, of Europe, and of the peaceloving people”.

Meanwhile, the minister said Hungary had suffered 40 years of communist dictatorship in a world divided into blocs, which had been ignored by the West. “And we were the losers of a world which was divided into blocs. And we don’t want to come back to a stage of history when we are going to be losers again,” he said, warning against a return to such a time.

Instead of the re-emergence of blocs, he said, the world needed cooperation and connectivity, and the restoration of mutual respect on the international political stage.

Szijjarto warned that Europe’s competitiveness had weakened significantly in recent years, saying that the economic model of growth built on the combination of advanced Western technologies and cheap Eastern energy had collapsed without being replaced by anything else.

He said it was “really alarming and concerning” that certain politicians were talking about decoupling the European and Chinese economies.

Szijjarto said the Hungarian economy had seen considerable success by having become a meeting point of Eastern and Western companies with “the biggest German companies working together happily with the biggest Chinese companies”.

“And if it worked in Hungary, I do believe it could work regionally and globally as well,” he said.

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