Photo: MTI

Opposition MPs slam government's foreign policy

Szijjarto calls for swiftest possible end to war

Hungary's foreign minister has called for the swiftest possible end to the war in Ukraine, declaring: "We want peace in our region and an end to the suffering of people in Ukraine."
2. March 2022 17:10

Hungary will do all it can for peace to be restored to Ukraine and central and eastern Europe, Peter Szijjarto said at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.

The minister said he was speaking as a representative of a country “that is confronting massive security risks”. Hungarians, he added, “do not want this war”.

“We Hungarians want peace; peace as soon as possible,” he said. “We stand by our Ukrainian friends” and support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Szijjarto added.

“We express our full solidarity with our neighbour,” he said, adding that Hungary trusted in the successful outcome of peace talks. He noted that Hungary had offered a venue for talks.

“Naturally, the location isn’t what matters, but that talks should continue,” he said.

The government, he said, had acted in full to protect the country and its people as well as to prevent Hungary from being dragged into the war. Szijjarto noted that the government had decided against sending soldiers and weapons to Ukraine. Nor is it allowing arms shipments to transit the country, he noted, explaining that the lives of Hungarians may be put in danger if such shipments were the target of military attacks.

The minister said the number-one human right was the right to secure and peaceful living conditions. The Ukrainian people have had this right “seriously violated”, he said, noting that many had been forced to leave their homes.

Szijjarto noted that in less than a week, more than 100,000 refugees from Ukraine had fled to Hungary. He also noted that all border crossings are open and all Ukrainian citizens and legal residents of Ukraine have been allowed to cross into the country.

The lives of the refugees are in danger, he added, and Hungary is one of the first safe ports of call, so it had a duty to help them.

He insisted that no parallels should be drawn between refugees from Ukraine and illegal migrants.

Opposition MPs slam government’s foreign policy

Opposition members of parliament’s foreign affairs committee have accused the government of ditching a policy of carving its own path in its dealings with Russia, NATO and the EU, a policy which they said had “failed” in light of the war in Ukraine.

After a closed-door meeting of the committee on Wednesday, Attila Mesterhazy of the Socialist Party told a press conference that the government had “completely reshaped” its policies in light of the war situation.

He said the foreign ministry was now “seriously thinking” in terms of how to change the Hungarian position on blocking certain types of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

The Socialist, who is the committee’s deputy chairman, also said that, contrary to the government’s claim, the opposition had never called for Hungarian soldiers and weapons to be sent to Ukraine. Rather, the opposition had stressed the importance of making “joint decisions” in lockstep with NATO and the European Union, he added.

Meanwhile, Mesterhazy said that information available to the opposition “from other sources” indicated that the war was not expected to spread to Transcarpathia, in western Ukraine, though the influx of refugees was expected to mount in the coming period.

Koloman Brenner, a (Jobbik) deputy chairman of the committee, stated the united opposition and Jobbik’s Euro-Atlantic commitment, saying that if they won the April 3 general election, their foreign policy would reflect the country’s stance as a reliable ally and a respected member of the family of European nations.

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