Flags of member nations flying at United Nations Headquarters - Photo: un.org

Szijjarto: UN must multiply counter-terrorism resources

The United Nations must multiply its resources spent on counter-terrorism, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said on Thursday.
9. February 2024 6:23

Peter Szijjarto told public media during a visit in New York that the UN had handled counter-terrorism action as a “stepchild” for a long time. “The role it was able to fulfil depended on the voluntary donations of member states,” he added.

“For years we’ve been fighting for this situation to change”, and financing counter-terrorism is now part of the UN’s central budget, he said.

The UN’s counter-terrorism efforts are currently managed from two locations: New York and Budapest, since the second largest unit of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism operates in Budapest, he said. “Hungary therefore plays an important role in global counter terrorism efforts,” he added.

In addition to peacekeeping, counter-terrorism efforts must be among the most important tasks of the UN, considering that the world faces “the most severe threat of terror ever”, he said. “This started not only with the brutal terrorist attacks in Israel, but the threat of terrorism had already been at a very high level in Africa, the Middle East, South-East Asia and even in Europe, as a result of the development of parallel societies emerging from migration waves to western Europe,” he added.

Terrorism and illegal migration formed a “vicious circle”, he said, because when terrorism became increasingly severe in any one part of the world, migration sprang from that location and terrorist organisations abused illegal migration, hiding their terrorists in the uncontrolled waves of migrants. “If Europe gets hit by migration waves, it will increase chances of terrorists getting in,” he added.

He expressed hope that by keeping the waves of illegal migration under control, the threat of terrorism could be reduced.

Commenting on his talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, he said the UN must play a leading role in counter-terrorism efforts and in peacekeeping. Several international organisations, he said, had failed in respect of the war in Ukraine, only making the situation worse with weapons transports and pro-war propaganda. He said the UN must step forward in this area, given that it was set up precisely to help communication between warring states.

Szijjarto said currently neither side was open to mediation, and the continuation of the war must be expected in Ukraine, despite the fact that “there is no solution on the battlefield”. European strategy “has been a complete failure”, he said. Those European politicians who say the developments in the battlefield would bring the situation closer to peace “cheated” the European people, he said. “They have either lied or assessed the situation completely falsely,” he added.

The foreign minister called freeing the hostages “the most important task” in the Middle East, adding that he agreed with the UN Secretary-General that Qatar should be given all possible support. He noted that Qatar’s mediation efforts had yielded results and the freeing of the first three Hungarian hostages were also thanks to that country.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto said modern-day anti-Semitism had spread “at a shocking rate” in western Europe and the United States in the recent months, with dozens of violent demonstrations held against Israel and with the harassment of Jewish communities and their members. “Those must be stopped,” he said. The minister called modern-day anti-Semitism a consequence of illegal migration in western Europe, saying that “aggressive migrants” had brought it with them as parallel societies had emerged.

With a zero tolerance in place against anti-Semitism and a ban on pro-terrorist demonstrations, he said Hungary was the safest country for Jewish communities.

Szijjarto said that it had transpired from his meetings with US Republican politicians that they had extensive information about developments in Europe and in Hungary in particular, and they followed the activities of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government “with great sympathy”. “They are keeping their fingers crossed” for the prime minister in his efforts to enforce Hungary’s national interests, protect Christian-conservative values and protect families while fighting illegal migration, he said.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, he said: “If someone tries to argue in favour of ending the war in Ukraine, they are immediately called Putin’s friend, a Russian spy or a Kremlin propagandist.”

The foreign minister attributed Hungary’s success in the recent past to the “honest and clear political strategy” the country had pursued. Hungary, he added, had the political stability for this, based on the Hungarian people’s support of the government’s political strategy.

Speaking about the Hungarian opposition, Szijjarto insisted it was “led by the US ambassador to Budapest, which is a strange situation, a qualified case of [foreign] interference in a country’s internal affairs.”

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