Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó speaks at the High-Level Meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council in New York, 17 July 2023
As a neighboring state, Hungary will continue to support peace in Ukraine as soon as possible and will continue to do so despite all criticism and attacks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on Monday.
The Minister recalled that he represents a country that has been living in the shadow of war in its neighborhood for more than 500 days, and is therefore facing its negative consequences in a very serious and direct way.
The Hungarian people have already paid a high price for the war, while bearing no responsibility for it,”
he pointed out.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó UN Economic and Social Council in New York. Photo: MTI/Foreign Ministry
“As a representative of a neighboring country, of a nation whose members are victims of this war, I would like to continue to argue for early peace, although I understand that this is not entirely in line with the position of the main Northern powers. And we will continue to do so, even if we are criticized and attacked for our position,” he stressed.
At the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Péter Szijjártó said that the solution to the armed conflict should not be found on the battlefield, but at the negotiating table.
Following his Ukrainian counterpart’s speech, he stressed that it is often said that the conditions are not yet right for the start of negotiations on a diplomatic settlement, but that these conditions are deteriorating by the day.
The longer the war goes on and the more weapons arrive, the more people die and the more devastation is caused,”
“We want the international community to deliver more peace to our neighborhood than weapons,” he said.
The Minister warned that by cutting off communication channels, the world would give up even the hope of peace. In this context,
he welcomed all peace-building efforts, praising the Vatican, Turkey and African states.
On the latter, he also highlighted the importance of food security, saying that supply disruptions could very easily lead to serious security challenges with global repercussions, such as new waves of migration and the consequent increase in the threat of terrorism.
We can ascertain that we cannot even cope with one security challenge, so how could we cope with more?”
The politician also announced that Hungary will extend its cooperation agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for one year to improve the situation of children who have fled Ukraine, as minors are the main victims of the war.
After a meeting with the Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Minister emphasized that
children suffer the most in the fighting, their future is destroyed in a matter of moments, they lose their parents, their homeland and their country is destroyed. Simply, the fundamental issue of the future of children in Ukraine is becoming completely uncertain, so it is the children who need to be helped the most, I think,”
he stressed, underlining that the longer the war goes on, the more children will become its victims.
The Minister said that this is why Hungary signed an agreement with UNICEF last year to provide all possible support to refugee minors from neighboring Ukraine, so that they can have access to education and health care and thus have some chance for the future. He pointed out that, for example,
some 1,300 schools and kindergartens in our country have taken in Ukrainian children.
“Today, we are extending for one year the agreement under which UNICEF and Hungary will work together to implement professional programs that will help children to have hope for a competitive, peaceful and calm future,” he said.
The Minister concluded by stressing that this cooperation did not start last year, but eight years ago, when the UNICEF moved its global service center to Hungary, where it now employs 400 people, and that it is in talks to expand it again.
The Minister said today that
the previous day’s meeting of the UN Security Council had once again made it clear that there were two completely different approaches to the war in Ukraine on the international stage.
Péter Szijjártó sharply rejected his Luxembourg counterpart’s accusations that Hungary is not showing enough solidarity, and said that Jean Asselborn’s “favorite sport is criticizing Hungarians”, adding
We Hungarians have taken in more than a million refugees from Ukraine. I am not exactly sure of the Luxembourg figure, but it is probably nowhere near that.”
On the collapse of the Black Sea Grains Agreement, the minister stressed that it had an importance beyond itself and had slightly mitigated the negative effects of the conflict in many easily destabilized parts of the world.
As a result,
the importance of Central Europe in Ukrainian grain transit will continue to grow, and Hungary has made significant infrastructure improvements to facilitate this.
Finally, speaking about his talks with business leaders, he underlined that there is enormous pressure on US and German companies, often subject to blackmail, not to bring their investments to Hungary because the liberal leadership in Berlin and Washington does not agree with the direction set by the Hungarian people.
“It is clear that the investing companies are not bothered in the slightest, both German and American investments are constantly increasing, (in fact,)
I hope that today I can agree on one or two new American corporate investments in Hungary,”
Featured image: MTI/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The article has been updated.