Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó opened a tourism event promoting Hungary on the sidelines of the New York Times Travel Show in New York on Saturday. In his opening address, the minister praised Budapest as “Europe’s safest city and one with the most sporting events”.
Szijjártó had talks with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders and said after the meeting that they had conflicting views concerning Europe’s future and migration. Belgium “interprets solidarity exclusively as accommodating migrants” while the Hungarian position is that “border protection is a form of solidarity because that considerably eases the burden on other countries”, he said. Parties at the talks, however, agreed that such differences should not hinder bilateral business ties, Szijjártó said, and added that the turnover of bilateral trade last year had been nearly 4 billion euros, up by 14% from the previous year. Szijjártó and Reynders, who will run for the post of Council of Europe secretary general, also agreed that the CoE should “continue to ensure opportunities for dialogue between various approaches in Europe” and that the organisation should be “retained as a forum for European dialogue”, Szijjártó said.
Szijjártó also had talks with Izumi Nakamitsu, the United Nations’ under-secretary-general for disarmament, and said that it was crucial that powers of the East and West should keep on their agenda issues around disarmament, especially in light of the breakdown in US-Russian disarmament talks. Supporting the UN’s mechanism to restrict the trade of light weapons is of key importance to Hungary because that could be instrumental in stemming the smuggling of such weapons from the Western Balkans, Szijjártó added.