Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, has offered Budapest as a venue of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
Szijjártó said in a live stream on Facebook late on Friday that he had consulted with both Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office chief Andriy Yermak to offer them Budapest as a safe venue for negotiations. Neither side has ruled out the possibility, he said.
With this offer, Hungary hopes to contribute to restoring peace, in which it has a vested interest, Szijjártó said in Brussels before leaving for New York for talks with UN leaders on the conflict.
Szijjártó noted that the major global powers had deployed almost all means of diplomacy to avert war in Ukraine, Hungary’s neighbourhood.
War is the worst-case scenario that claims human lives, he said, adding that Hungary would like to see peace and an end to hostilities in its neighbourhood as soon as possible.
The sooner it ends the fewer human lives it claims, the minister said.
Negotiations are a precondition for restoring peace but the previous sites offered for the purpose, namely Warsaw and Minsk, generated disagreement between the warring sides. This is what prompted Hungary’s offer, he said.
featured image: an apartment block in Kyiv after a Russian air strike; via MTI/AP/Emilio Morenatti