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Africa and Europe should strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism, as European security strongly depends on that of Africa, the foreign minister said in Rabat on Wednesday. Speaking at the local United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Péter Szijjártó said European security was the weakest since the Cold War, having to face a war in Ukraine and one in Israel amid a growing threat of terrorism. Europe has also seen a “massive flood of immigrants” in the past eight years, he said. Hungary thwarted 230,000 illegal entry attempts last year and 173,000 so far this year, he said. He slammed the EU migration policy as “irresponsible” for “practically encouraging illegal immigration” and handling the protection of external borders as a human rights issue rather than a security one, he said. Hungarians see a robust and strict border protection as a necessity, an issue of sovereignty as well as security, Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary considered illegal migration a crime and an attack on its sovereignty.
Szijjártó said terrorism and the “massive migration waves” created a vicious circle. Terrorism is both a root cause and consequence of migration, as terrorists may hide in the masses to travel around the world, he said. He said illegal migration had resulted in the growing threat of terrorism, creating “parallel societies” in several European countries, “no-go zones where the police can’t keep the order, and gang wars have become more frequent.”
Hungary has a vested interest in the successful fight against terrorism due to the double security challenge it is facing, one posed by the war in Ukraine and one through migration along the Western Balkan route, he said. At the same time, the fight against terrorism is a global responsibility, he said, calling it “unacceptable” that the UN covered only 3% of UNOCT’s budget, expecting member states to make up the rest. He said he supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to increase funding.
Budapest is home to the second largest UNOCT office employing 24 experts, Szijjártó said. Hungary is also part of a programme aiming to filter out potential terrorists, he added. The fight against terrorism cannot succeed without Africa, and European security starts with that of Africa, he said.