Hungary and Poland are to cooperate with religious organisations to strengthen local Christian communities in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on the side-lines of a donor conference organised by the EU and UN for Syria in Brussels.
Poland and Hungary are both committed to reconstruction in warravaged Syria and propose that Europe as a Christian continent should “stand by openly protecting” dislocated Christian communities, he said. In talks with Beata Kempa, Polish minister for humanitarian aid programmes, the ministers agreed that aid should be provided at the root of migration, Szijjártó said.
The minister also held talks with Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag, on the potential dangers of leading world powers unilaterally curbing world economy. Hungary’s exports exceeded 100 billion euros for the first time last year, Szijjártó said. The country profits the most from a world economy that is as open, free and accessible as possible. Hungary and the Netherlands will together urge the EU to work against restrictions that hinder the European economy, he said.
FM Szijjártó with Aurelia Frick Liechtensteinerin and Angelino Alfano Italian foreign ministers in Brussels. Photo: KKM.
Szijjártó also met with Lichtenstein’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture Aurelia Frick, and they reiterated their cooperation for a simpler, more transparent and more efficient UN. The ministers also pledged to further cooperate to support the UN’s independent and impartial mechanism, working to hold accountable those responsible for the crimes against humanity in Syria. Hungary funds this initiative with 50,000 euros this year, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó: Hungary to Finance Hospital Construction in Syria
Hungary plans to contribute 5 million euros towards building a hospital in Syria and construction will go ahead once the security situation allows, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said at a donor conference in Brussels. He said the investment would help pave the way for the swiftest possible repatriation of Syrians. The situation in Syria and its settlement cannot be separated from the migration crisis in Europe, considering that conflicts in the region are among the main causes of migration, Szijjártó said.
The European Union should revise the priorities of its migration policy; instead of encouraging people to come to Europe, it should focus on eliminating the causes of migration and taking help to places where it is needed in order to allow people to stay at home or near their home, Szijjártó said.
FM Szijjártó with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi in Brussels. Photo: KKM.
Hungary is also paying its final instalment of the EU package for helping refugees stranded in Turkey. The country will have contributed altogether 14.6 million euros with its last payment. Hungary is calling for more financial aid to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, considering that these countries are looking after millions of refugees, Szijjártó said. The security circumstances and the living environment in the Middle East need to be improved in order to enable people return to their homes as soon as possible, he said. Hungary has launched a scheme dubbed Hungary Helps to this effect, he noted.
Over the past two years, Hungary provided 3.6 billion forints (EUR 11.6m) on programmes helping Middle Eastern refugees stay at home and return home, Szijjártó added. Hungary financed the construction of a school and the reconstruction of demolished churches and buildings, and supported hospitals and Catholic communities in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, Szijjártó said. A scholarship scheme launched this year to enable 250 Syrian students study in Hungary is planned to be continued next year, he added.
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