Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: ‘Tougher steps needed for Hungary’s security’

Hungary's foreign minister said on Monday that "we have entered a new dimension in terms of risks posed by the war in Ukraine which is why we must take tougher and clearer steps towards ensuring peace and security in Hungary which is in our national interest"
21. March 2022 15:01

On the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers focused on the war, Peter Szijjarto said NATO’s position adopted last week entirely coincided with Hungary’s national security interests, namely that every possible effort should be made to prevent the military alliance from being involved in the war and the conflict from escalating beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Szijjarto warned that establishing and maintaining a no-fly zone in Ukraine, as proposed by several countries, would entail the risk of aerial warfare. Another proposal to set up a peacekeeping mission in Ukraine would carry the risk of war involving western forces on land, he added.

“We should speak clearly about these issues. This is a new war risk,” he said.

The Hungarian government has adopted a clear-cut position: Hungary wants to stay out from this war, Szijjarto said. It insists on NATO’s position and opposes both proposals that would entail the risk of a new war, he added.

Hungary is not blocking any decisions on the EU member states delivering more weapons to Ukraine, but it has made clear that it would not supply arms and would not allow lethal aid to cross its territory, he said. These consignments qualify as military targets, and the Hungarian government does not want to expose the inhabitants of either Hungary or Ukraine, including Transcarpathia, to such risk, the minister said.

Concerning refugees, Szijjarto said that even though Hungary and Poland’s aid and assistance was recognised, EU funds were being withheld from both countries.

Szijjarto said “unity in terms of probable EU sanctions to be imposed on Russian energy supplies or stopping them will most certainly not be reached”. He added that sanctions on energy supply would constitute a red line for Hungary.

“We are not going to support sanctions that might pose a risk to Hungary’s energy supplies,” the minister said.

Although the latest package of sanctions discussed does not affect gas deliveries from Russia, it makes it more difficult for EU candidate member Serbia to guarantee its energy supply, he said. Had the EU been quicker in terms of enlargement and admitted the western Balkans countries, including Serbia, this would no longer be a problem, he said.

Szijjarto also said that Hungary, fulfilling the request of Transcarpathia’s governor, would be prepared to grant safe haven to refugees fleeing war and arriving from Ukraine’s inner territories.

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