Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary withheld vote for EU Ukraine training mission

Hungary's government does not back a proposal for the European Union to start a training mission for the Ukrainian army as this would risk escalating the war, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, on Monday in Luxembourg, where he noted that he lawfully made himself absent from the vote, the only EU member state representative to do so.
17. October 2022 17:45

The minister noted that his absence had not prevented the proposal from being approved, but Hungary does not want to contribute to the costs of the operation.

“Anything leading to escalation is not something we think is a good idea,” he said during a break of the meeting of EU foreign ministers, adding that central Europe risked being dragged into the conflict as a result.

The question of whether shipments or troop linked to the mission may transit Hungarian territory will always be decided on an individual basis, he said.

Szijjarto noted that for the sixth time, the bloc is regrouping 500 million euros from a European peace fund to partially finance arms shipments to Ukraine.

“Hungary has also contributed to this funding, but … I cannot guarantee that this will be the case next time,” he said, adding that since the fund also financed various important missions connected with challenges from the south, a lack of money for such purposes could be deeply problematic.

“Hungary contributes tens of millions of euros to the European Peace Framework … [yet] Hungary is not doing enough to help Ukraine,” according to some European politicians, he said.

The minister said no one at the meeting had used the word “peace”, and the atmosphere had been “quite combative”, adding that emphasis should be given to the need for peace rather than using escalatory rhetoric.

He urged communication channels to be kept open since a diplomatic settlement would be lost without them.

“Our top priority is to ensure the safety of Hungary and the Hungarian people,” he said.

“Regrettably, there was much talk of sanctions,” he said. “Some leaders don’t want to acknowledge the facts”, he said, insisting that punitive action had not swiftly ended the war but led instead to economic hardship in Europe.

Referring to the Nord Stream gas pipeline explosions, he qualified the attack as a “shocking terrorist act”, and he said the EU should consider any potential sabotage against the Turkish Stream pipeline as a terrorist attack.

On the topic of Europe-China relations, Szijjarto said attempts were under way to “undermine bilateral cooperation”, and this may lead to “serious economic hardship”. He stressed the need for “pragmatic, rational, mutually beneficial cooperation” with China.

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