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Szijjártó: Hungary Committed to Protecting Judeo-Christian Heritage

Hungary Today 2018.06.01.

Hungary is committed to protecting the Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe and proud of the Jewish community living in the country, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.

One of the largest Catholic churches in Hungary stands quite close to the Dohány street Great Synagogue in Budapest, illustrating the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Christians in Hungary, Szijjártó said at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, before an event commemorating Theodore Herzl, a 19th-century Austro-Hungarian writer also known as the father of the State of Israel.

Many in western Europe currently talk about a post-Christian and post-national period, yet if Europe forgets about its Judeo-Christian heritage and the fact that it is made up of nation states, it could lose a lot, he said. Hungary is proud of the Jewish community which has greatly contributed to the development of the country and the government has announced zero tolerance against anti-Semitism, he added.

Hungary supports the well-balanced and fair assessment of Israel in international forums and the two countries have many ties, with both considering the security of their citizens a priority, Szijjártó said. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador in Washington, DC, said Hungarian-Israeli relations were “extremely good” and the two countries have been developing strong cooperation in an increasing number of areas.

Szijjártó with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington yesterday. Image: MTI Fotó: KKM

Szijjártó: Hungary Supports EU Free Trade Pacts

The Hungarian government supports European Union efforts to maximise the number of ambitious free trade agreements, but also trusts that the EU will “consider Hungary’s sensitivities, especially in agriculture”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told an OECD meeting in Paris on Thursday. Freedom in global trade and removing obstacles from bilateral or multilateral cooperation is “crucial”, Szijjártó said.

On the sidelines of the OECD event, Szijjártó had bilateral talks with Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister for international trade, Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, Jorge Faurie, Argentina’s foreign minister, and Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister.

Szijjártó: Central Europe, US ‘natural allies’

The United States once again considers the central European region as its “natural, strategic ally”, FM Péter Szijjártó told public television M1 on Friday. Referring to recent talks with Mike Pompeo, his US counterpart, Szijjártó said that during the Obama administration central Europe had been “off the positive agenda” of US diplomacy, but “now it has changed”. Illegal migration, fighting terrorism, security policy, United Nations reforms and “balanced” policies towards Israel are “all areas where (the two countries’) interests are clearly identical”, Szijjártó said.

FM Szijjártó with Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin in Washington. Photo: KKM via MTI.

The minister said that the US has “greatly contributed to easing conflicts with Ukraine arising from (that country’s) violating minority rights”. Prior to meeting Pompeo, Szijjártó had met his Ukrainian counterpart in New York and agreed to set up an inter-governmental team to monitor Ukraine’s implementing the Venice Commission’s recommendations concerning the Ukrainian education law. “There is hope for a solution,” he said, and added that the Ukrainian education minister had launched consultations with the ethnic Hungarian community while a meeting would soon be held between the education minister of the two countries and ethnic leaders.



featured image: FM Szijjártó speaking at the Embassy of Israel in Washington; photo: KKM via MTI