Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Thursday inaugurated new offices of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Budapest and said that Hungary was committed to helping the fight against terrorism to succeed.
“Early detection and pre-emption are more important today in fighting terrorism than ever before,” he said.
UNOCT is a main player in the fight against international terrorism and it greatly contributes to maintaining security and peace around the world, Szijjártó said. By opening a regional centre in Budapest, UNOCT has given Hungary an important role in the global fight against terrorism, he said. Meanwhile, the largest UN organisation, the UNHCR is expanding in Budapest, he said.
Seven UN organisations employ some 1,500 people in Hungary, Szijjártó said.
At the same time, Szijjártó said it was in Hungary’s interest that the UN’s operations became “more flexible and effective”. He called a structural and operational reform “inevitable”, and called for the UNOCT to be fully integrated into the organisation’s budget as part of that process.
UNOCT is bringing high value-added processes to Hungary which require high levels of expertise, and also present an opportunity for serious developments, Szijjártó said. He pledged the Hungarian government’s support for the new functions.
The UN faced the greatest challenge of its existence six years ago, at the start of the migration crisis, which among other promblems alos pressented serious security risks, Szijjártó said. European Union member states “have been living under the shadow of growing terrorism threat since 2015,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many to work and study online, making cyberspace “the new target for extremist and terrorist ideologies,” he said.
Lorenzo Pasquali, the head of the UNHCR’s global service centre in Budapest, thanked the Hungarian government for its support. The office opened with 100 employees in 2007, and now surpassed 500, with 350 Hungarians working there, he said.
UNOCT head Peter Smith said the Hungarian government has supported opening the office from throughout the planning process. By setting it up in Hungary, UNOCT is closer to the countries that have requested their help in the global fight against terrorism, he said.
Featured photo via FM Szijjártó’s official Facebook page