Vladimir Putin (r) and Viktor Orbán in Moscow – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary EU presidency to focus on mission for peace

"Peace is most important for Europe; the Hungarian EU presidency will dedicate the next half year ... to a mission for peace," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a press conference held jointly with Russian President Vladimir Putin after their talks in Moscow on Friday.
5. July 2024 20:03

Orbán said that at their talks he told Putin that “unprecedented development in Europe in recent decades was based on peace … but now, we have been living in the shadow of war for two and a half years, which causes extreme hardships for Europe.” “We cannot feel secure; we can see the signs of destruction and suffering, while the war is now manifested in a broken economic development and our reduced competitiveness,” Orbán said.

Orbán said peace could not be achieved “without dialogue or diplomatic channels … peace will not develop by itself, it needs to be created and one must work for it.” Orbán said he had discussed options to that end with the Russian president to find out “which way to peace is shortest.”

Orbán said he had sought Putin’s position on three subjects, firstly, what he thought about the current peace plans and the format of peace talks. He also wanted to know what Putin’s position was “on the relationship between a ceasefire and peace talks … if a ceasefire could precede peace negotiations.” He then said he also wanted to know Putin’s opinion concerning Europe’s security system after the war.

Orbán said he was grateful to Putin for “the open and straightforward discussion”.

Referring to his recent visit to Kyiv and Friday’s talks in Moscow, Orbán said “I have seen that the positions are far apart; and the number of steps that need to be taken to end the war and create peace is high, but the first important step towards restoring a dialogue was taken today,” adding that he would carry on with the work he had started.

Putin said Russia wanted a “complete and final” resolution to the conflict rather than just a ceasefire. He said his talks with Orbán had been “timely and useful” and thanked Orbán for his visit. He added that Moscow considered it as an attempt to restore dialogue. He said that the talks had been “rather thorough, informal and straightforward”. The Russian president expressed his country’s readiness to settle the conflict through negotiations, but added that Ukraine still trusted that they could win.

He said Ukraine’s supporters carried on trying “to use that country and its people as a battering ram and sacrifice them in the confrontation with Russia.”

Putin suggested that Ukraine could use a temporary ceasefire to recover losses, regroup and rearm. A complete resolution of the conflict requires immediate withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzia and Kherson regions, he said, adding that Russia had further requirements.

On another subject, Putin said work on Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant expansion was ongoing, adding that the two new blocks would more than double the plant’s total capacity.

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