Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Drop war rhetoric, focus on peace, foreign minister says

Szijjarto: Hungary ‘not at war with anyone’

Hungary's foreign minister told journalists in New York on Thursday that Hungarians wanted to stay out of the war in Ukraine. Responding to a passage of a speech made by his German counterpart which referenced the war in Ukraine, Peter Szijjarto said: "Hungary is not at war with anyone."
26. January 2023 18:09

In a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Annalena Baerbock said: “Russia’s war of aggression is not only a war against Ukraine, it is a war against the common European peace order.”

In reaction, Szijjarto said: “We are not at war with anyone, we do not want to be at war with anyone … our top priority is the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people.”

The minister added that Hungarian voters in last year’s general election made clear that staying out of the war was their chief aim, and this motivated government’s decision-making and its efforts towards securing peace talks and a ceasefire.

Asked about corruption cases in Ukraine, Szijjarto said a key principle of Hungarian foreign policy was “not to meddle in the affairs of other countries”.

Szijjarto said that Hungary supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and he vowed to continue Hungary’s “largest humanitarian aid operation of all time” as long as it was needed.

Drop war rhetoric, focus on peace

Instead of ratcheting up war rhetoric and risking escalating the conflict in Ukraine, the international community should focus on creating peace,  Szijjarto said, adding: “Dialogue is needed as soon as possible.”

Szijjarto welcomed the fact that the UN Security Council was holding a meeting and a “timely” debate on how to create and keep the peace, a statement by the foreign ministry said, adding, however, that the minister lamented how “peace is rarely spoken about, and those who do speak about it are criticised and stigmatised”.

Given its close proximity, Hungarians are acutely aware of the war’s effects and severity, he said, noting that one million refugees had departed Ukraine through Hungary.

Also, the war and “failed” sanctions have increased the cost of Hungary’s energy imports to 17 billion euros from 7 billion, he added.

The minister noted that Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, in western Ukraine, were being conscripted into the Ukrainian army, and many were dying, “sometimes brutally”.

“We Hungarians know all too well why bringing this war to an end is so important,” he said.

Besides the untold suffering, European countries must contend with ever higher inflation and an unclear future in terms of its energy supply, so the international community — big and powerful countries in particular — has a big responsibility to ensure that peacemaking is put on the agenda, Szijjarto said.

The minister warned against blocking communication channels, adding that this would amount to abandoning the hope for peace.


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