Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto calls for end to war at Minsk conference

An immediate ceasefire and peace talks are needed in Ukraine, as the number of victims and destruction will only grow as the war continues, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, told a security conference in Minsk on Thursday.
26. October 2023 14:16

Speaking at a high-level international conference entitled Eurasian security: reality and prospects in a transforming world, Szijjarto said Europe and Hungary had already paid a high price for a war they were not responsible for. Hungarians want peace as soon as possible and don’t agree with those saying that the conditions for peace would improve over time, he said, adding that the solution to the war was at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield. Channels of communication must be kept open, “lest we should give up hope for peace,” he added.

Szijjarto said his faith in peace had prompted him to accept the invitation to the conference, “risking, of course, condemnation from certain parts of Europe for the decision,” he said.

In his speech following Sergei Aleinik and Sergei Lavrov, his Belorusian and Russian counterparts, respectively, Szijjarto said that in order to find solutions to Europe’s challenges and to avoid the deterioration of its situation, the war in Ukraine must be ended through a ceasefire and peace talks.

Further, “civilised dialogue” must be restored between the East and the West, and political discourse must return to dialogue based on mutual respect and common sense rather than “debates based on ideology and politics”, he said.

He said the model of European economic growth, based on a combination of cutting-edge western technology and relatively cheap eastern energy, had collapsed. Consequently, natural gas cost four times as much in Europe as in the US and electricity three times as much as in China.

Europe had also made pragmatic issues such as energy supplies a hostage of political and ideological discussions, he said.

While some called for decoupling the European and Chinese economy, Hungary achieved success by becoming a meeting point of interdependent economic players, he said.

The wars in Ukraine and Israel have plunged global security into its worst state since the end of the cold war, he said. Meanwhile, the EU is also struggling with a dramatic fall in competitiveness, as China has grown to have the second largest annual GDP worldwide, he said. As Europe’s share of the world GDP has fallen to 17 percent today from 22 percent in 2010, China’s grew from 9 percent to 18 percent, he said.

Hungary has a vested interest in a safe and strong Europe. “For that, we need peace and connectivity,” Szijjarto said.

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