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A Lot of Pomp, No Tangible Results During Day One of the NATO Summit

Dániel Deme 2023.07.12.
US President Joe Biden (R) shook hands with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (C) while arriving for the group photo.

Peace is needed in Ukraine, not weapons, the Prime Minister said in a video posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday. Viktor Orbán stressed that the most important issue at the two-day NATO summit in Vilnius was the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Orbán added that a ceasefire was needed and that peace negotiations should be started as soon as possible instead of war.

Hungary’s position is clear, because the war is in our neighborhood and tens of thousands of Hungarians living in Transcarpathia are in immediate danger,

he said.

The Prime Minister maintained that Hungary is in favor of NATO not changing its previous position, as NATO is a military-defense alliance. NATO was created to protect its member states, not to carry out military actions on the territory of other countries, Mr Orbán pointed out. Hungary’s position now, at the beginning of the negotiations, is completely in line with NATO’s position, as NATO does not send troops, does not send weapons, does not train combat troops, but seeks to strengthen the defense of its own member states.

President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda (L), Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (C) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

The NATO summit will send a strong signal to Ukraine that it has made significant progress on the road to membership, but that it needs further reforms in both its military and its democracy, the US State Secretary said in interviews with US media on Tuesday. However, Antony Blinken confirmed that as long as the war continues, Ukraine’s membership will not be achieved.

He stressed that part of the reforms expected of Ukraine is to strengthen its democracy. He added that the outcome of the NATO summit would show the unity of the defense alliance in very practical and sustained support for Ukraine, including the path to membership.

Blinken also confirmed that the United States is committed to NATO’s “open door” admission policy, meaning that anyone can become a member of the defense alliance when they are ready and all allies agree to an invitation to join.

Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

As things stand, there is a good chance that the NATO summit will succeed in avoiding the risk of an escalation of the war in Ukraine and in reaching a responsible decision on Ukraine’s membership perspective, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in Vilnius.

He emphasized that the most important thing for Hungary was to reaffirm NATO’s earlier clear decision that the military organization is not involved in the armed conflict in Ukraine and will do everything to prevent escalation.

This is extremely important for those of us living in the neighborhood, because if a war escalates, it is first of all a threat to the geographical neighborhood, not to the countries thousands or hundreds of kilometers away,”

he warned.

He stressed that Ukraine’s annual programs will be assessed by the foreign ministers of the member states, and that NATO is not just a military alliance but also a values-based alliance, so these aspects will also be taken into account in the accession process.

He underlined that

such important values as the protection of the rights of national minorities are also an expectation for Ukraine, and Hungary will pay particular attention to this issue, which will play an important role in shaping the government’s position.

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Via MTI; Featured Image: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

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