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Hungary and the Hungarian people are already paying a high price for the war in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at an open debate in the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, adding that “the great powers” should focus on peacemaking instead of taking steps that risked escalating the conflict. The ministry said that Szijjártó had expressed thanks to the body’s Japanese presidency for convening the meeting, adding that the debate was “timely” and “singular” as international political discourse was still “ruled by war rhetoric”.
“War rhetoric is very loud while the peace rhetoric can hardly be heard,” he said. As a neighbour of Ukraine, Hungary directly feels the severe negative effects of the armed conflict, so the government is interested in peace, he said. More than one million refugees have left Ukraine through Hungary, which is carrying out the largest humanitarian scheme in its history, he said. The annual cost of Hungary’s energy imports have grown from 7 billion euros to 17 billion euros and inflation is sky-high, he added.
In addition to Ukrainians, a large number of ethnic Hungarians from Transcarpathia have died in the war, he said. Hungary has already paid a high price for the war, despite the fact that the Hungarian people never wanted a war and are not responsible for it, he added. “Hungarians made it very clear at last year’s parliamentary election that this is not our war…” he said. Commenting on the tragic consequences of the war, he said thousands of people had died and millions had been forced to leave their homes, while the sanctions posed an enormous challenge to European economies.
“Perhaps all this looks different from many hundred or thousand kilometres away, or from the other side of the ocean, but believe me, we who live next door see the situation as a very serious one,” he said. “Please take this message from a next door neighbour: this war must end without delay because we are in the 25th hour and we must focus on peace,” he added. He called on the international community to “replace war rhetoric” with statements of peace, adding that great powers should avoid measures or even remarks that carried the risk of prolonging and escalating the war. Instead of intensifying arms supplies, he called for efforts to focus on establishing a ceasefire and the immediate start of peace talks.