The world is “waiting for peace in Ukraine”, and many countries greatly appreciate Hungary’s approach, which favours diplomatic solutions, hoping it would become the European one, the foreign minister said in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Péter Szijjártó attended the annual meeting of China’s Belt and Road initiative in Hong Kong, and held bilateral meetings with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the economy minister of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt’s minister for international cooperation. After the talks, Szijjártó said “our African and Asian partners continue to ask when … the European Union is going to step up for peace.” Rather than calling for peace as it usually does in the case of conflicts further from home, the EU is now “further firing up the conflict by delivering weapons, shutting down channels of communication and through its sanctions policy,” he said. This created a “vicious circle” of rising inflation and food and energy prices, he added. Hungary is “perhaps the only country” to fully stand up for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, he said. Non-EU countries greatly appreciate that stance and expect it to “prevail as the generally accepted approach in Europe,” he said.
Regarding the energy crisis, Szijjártó said Hungary and its partners in Egypt and the UAE had reinforced their commitment to nuclear cooperation, including projects in training and knowledge exchange. Hungary is seen as a friendly country in Hong Kong, “with a sovereign foreign policy that doesn’t involve lecturing others,” he said. “We have always respected China’s sovereignty and the principle of one country, two systems,” he said. The good relations were well reflected in last year’s cooperation when trade volume reached 2.5 billion dollars. Exports to Hong Kong jumped 1.5-fold this year, the Hungarian foreign minister added. The ministry cited Szijjártó saying at a lecture held in CityU that the Hungarian government’s most important task was to guarantee the physical and economic security of the country. “This is not easy under strong international pressure and various attacks, but we have so far been successful in our efforts,” he added.
Hungary’s right-wing conservative and patriotic, Christian-Democrat government goes against the international liberal mainstream, he said. At the same time, the Hungarian government has the strongest mandate in the continent, which it gained in several two-thirds majority victories in general elections, and this stability has greatly contributed to enabling Hungary to resist the attacks, Szijjártó added. He also said that it was a great achievement that despite a “war psychosis”, Hungary had managed to stay out of the conflict and weapon deliveries linked to the Ukraine war. He said Hungary rejected the position that “Ukraine is also fighting for us and therefore it is our moral obligation” to get involved in the conflict. “That would take us closer to a third world war,” he said. “The longer this war lasts, the chances are smaller for a sustainable and long-term agreement,” he added. Szijjártó welcomed the success of the eastern opening policy announced in 2010 and the fact that Hungary had become the number one destination for Chinese investments in central Europe.