Photo: MTI

Szijjarto: Open channels of communication raise hope of swift peace

Hope for peace in Ukraine remains as long as there are open channels of communication between the parties, and so maintaining dialogue with Belarus in the face of "all prospective criticism and attacks" is very important, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Budapest on Wednesday, after meeting his Belarusian counterpart, Syarhey Aleynik.
12. April 2023 18:28

Speaking after a meeting of the Hungarian-Belarusian intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation, Szijjarto said that despite the “long litany of criticism and attacks that are sure to follow, our meeting in Budapest today was very important.”

Hungary stands on the side of peace, and wants the war in neighbouring Ukraine to end as swiftly as possible as that is the only way to save lives, “Hungarian lives among them”, he said.

“It is very clear that we are in the 25th hour, and the danger of escalation looms larger than ever,” Szijjarto said.

An escalation would first hit the countries near to the armed conflict the hardest, and so avoiding such a development is a priority, he added.

Szijjarto said he had asked Aleynik to do everything in his government’s power to avoid escalation.

Closing channels of communication would be tantamount to “the world giving up hope for peace”, he said. “So today’s meeting helped to maintain the hope for peace.”

Belarus hosted peace talks in the conflict earlier, Szijjarto said, expressing hope that similar talks would restart soon.

The ministers also discussed developing cooperation in sectors not affected by sanctions, Szijjarto said.

Regarding the security of energy supply, “a critical issue for Hungary,” Szijjarto noted that 80 percent of the country’s oil supplies comes through the Druzhba pipeline crossing Belarus. “So far, Belarus has been a trustworthy, reliable and fair partner, and has ensured uninterrupted deliveries,” he said, adding that Aleynik has promised to continue deliveries.

The ministers have also touched on the issue of nuclear energy and a related agreement they signed at their meeting, he said. Sharing experiences with Belarus, which is building similar nuclear blocks to those under construction in Hungary, is important, he said.

“Nuclear security is of universal, global interest, regardless of the geopolitical situation,” he said.

Cooperation has also been started in agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry, which raised the importance of a planned business forum for some 70 companies, he said.


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