Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Right-wing wins in Israel, US would ‘raise hope’ for peace, stability

A stable Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a Republican win at the US midterm elections later this week would raise hope for peace in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Jordan on Wednesday.
2. November 2022 16:42

Reacting to the Tuesday elections in Israel at a panel discussion at the Amman Security Forum, Szijjarto welcomed what he called a “realistic chance for Netanyahu’s return”, noting that Netanyahu was the leader to sign the Abraham Accords which normalised Israel’s relations with several Arab states.

He said the midterm elections in the United States next Tuesday also looked “promising”. A stable Netanyhu government in Israel and Republican majority in the US Congress would be the “most promising and hopeful development” for peace and security in the Middle East, he said.

The region’s security has a direct effect on European security, Szijjarto said, calling for the continuation of the peace process “started by former president Donald Trump”. The Abraham Accords was the first tangible result in the peace process after years of failed attempts, he said, adding that Trump’s achievements in promoting dialogue between Israel and four Arab states should be acknowledged.

“The moral is that we need real leaders who are strong and brave enough to open communication channels between parties that are in grave conflict,” he said.

Europe in its current state could not handle another security challenge, and so swift steps are needed towards “peace and calm in the Middle East”, he said.

The same method should be implemented in Ukraine, too, he said. “If President Trump could restart negotiations and bring peace closer between Israel and several Arab states, then brokering peace in Ukraine should also be possible,” he said.

“We need dialogue and we need to reopen channels of communication, because if we give up on dialogue, we are giving up the hope of peace,” he added.

Hungary ‘almost alone’ in promoting peace

Hungary is essentially alone among Western countries when it comes to promoting peace in Ukraine, the foreign minister said, participating in a panel discussion at the Amman Security Forum in Jordan. Most other countries employ the rhetoric of escalation, Szijjarto added.

The war in Ukraine affects the entire world, he said, noting the energy crisis and emerging food crisis.

Hungary feels both the direct and indirect effects of the conflict, he said. “More than one million refugees have come to the country from the East, while the southern border is under siege … with the authorities preventing 230,000 illegal attempts to cross the border this year alone.”

Szijjarto insisted that “failed European Union sanctions” were making the situation worse and had not brought the Russian economy “to its knees”.

The minister said Hungarian spending on energy imports of 7 billion euros last year would balloon to 19 billion euros this year and to 29 billion euros in 2023.

Unstable regions witnessing a decline in living conditions because of the Ukraine war are susceptible to extremist ideologies and violence, and thus there is a threat of new waves of migration and the associated spread of terrorism, he said, adding that Hungary had a vital interest in promoting peace in Ukraine — one of the few countries to do so.

Szijjarto noted that Hungary is almost alone in refusing to supply weapons to Ukraine, and it is not involved in the EU’s training mission either. But this stance opens the government to political attacks and denigration by “the international media”, he said. The war in Ukraine could well get out of control if further escalation takes place, the minister added.

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