Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary to maintain block of weapons aid to Ukraine

Hungary's government will continue to deny its consent to the next instalment of 500 million euros in the European Peace Facility to Ukraine until it removes Hungarian commercial bank OTP from its list of war sponsors, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Luxembourg on Monday, insisting that OTP had not violated any international regulations.
26. June 2023 17:36

On the sidelines of a meeting of his European Union counterparts, Szijjarto said participants had agreed on increasing the peace facility by 3.5 billion euros, but added that Hungary had voted for the proposal on the condition of receiving legal guarantees “to preserve the global nature of the facility”. That means, he added, that the fund could assist countries in the Western Balkans and in Africa in maintaining stability and prevent new waves of migration.

Szijjarto said some 6 billion euros had been used from the facility to finance arms shipments to Ukraine, adding that Hungary had “sharply opposed this shift in focus” and insisted that the facility had been created to support stability “in a number of places” such as “Africa, the Sahel region or even in the Western Balkans” and mitigate security challenges for Europe through preventing further waves of migration.

Szijjarto referred to a “huge pressure … nearly all participants urging to facilitate the next instalment of 500 million for weapons to Ukraine” but said Hungary’s representatives continued to deny their consent as “we had earlier made it clear that we would continue blocking it until Ukrainian authorities give up their ridiculous and false claims under which they had included OTP … on a list of international war sponsors”.

Szijjarto insisted it was “nonsensical” that “while Ukraine … expects further aid to finance arms shipments, they put the largest Hungarian bank on a list of war sponsors and will not change it”. He also added that he had asked his EU counterparts to urge Ukraine to remove OTP from the list.

“Ukrainian authorities could remove OTP from that list in a second, but it seems they don’t want to,” he said, adding that Ukraine had sanctioned OTP under “ridiculous and false claims lacking any realistic foundations”.

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