Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met Christian leaders from Ethiopia for talks on the impact of migration on Europe and Africa as well as on persecuted Christian communities, the prime minister’s press chief said. The talks were attended by Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, head of the Ethiopian Catholic Church, Samson Bekele Demissie, director-general of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s family organisation, as well as Girma Borishie Bati, director of the development committee of the Mekane Yesus Evangelical Church. The Ethiopian guests voiced their churches’ commitment to help young Ethiopians prosper in their country rather than try to emigrate and “become playthings in the hands of human smugglers”. They praised Hungary’s scholarship programme, under which many Ethiopian graduates returned to their homeland, Bertalan Havasi said. He said the cardinal thanked the Hungarian government for its aid to a refugee camp and a hospital for the poor in Ethiopia.
The government’s aim is to prevent migration instead of supporting and managing it, Tristan Azbej, the state secretary for aiding persecuted Christians, told Ethiopian church leaders. The government’s interest is that nobody should be forced to leave their place of birth and anyone forced to flee should be able to return to their homes, he said, adding: “This is in everyone’s interest and it is also the humane solution.” Azbej, who is also in charge of the “Hungary Helps” scheme, said that in the past two years the Hungarian government helped 35,000 people in Africa and the Middle East. “Without support, these people would have been forced to leave their homes,” he added.