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As a “pro-peace and anti-migration” country, Hungary is making a “significant donation” for humanitarian and development purposes in connection with the war in Syria, Tristan Azbej, the state secretary in charge of aid to Christian communities, told a conference on the future of Syria and its region in Brussels on Monday. Ahead of the conference, Azbej told MTI that the Hungarian donation was aimed at encouraging “the international community to contribute to building peace and stability in the region and to do everything to help Syrian refugees and migrants return to their homeland.” Through its donation, the Hungarian government seeks to present the Hungary Helps programme as an example to Western donor countries, he added.
Azbej said the donation will include health equipment for Egypt to help with services delivered to Syrian refugees as well as a contribution to “religious support programmes” in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Hungary has donated some 25 million euros to help Syrian refugees through their church organisations and Christian humanitarian programmes since the scheme started seven years ago, he said, adding that Hungary has aided countries in accommodating refugees and migrants.
People who earlier fled Syria are able to return now that the safety level has improved, Azbej said. Referring to Lebanon, which has accommodated nearly 2 million Syrians, he said the improvement in security was especially important since the country had faced a crisis “that could lead to the country falling apart and an armed conflict, while also threatening the exodus of the Lebanese Christian community,” he added. Meanwhile, Azbej said the international community allow Israel every room for manoeuvre to curb terrorism and, at the same time, “the international community must also do everything to prevent the conflict in Gaza from escalating into a regional conflict between states, which would re-kindle the Syrian war,” he said. Azbej said Hungarian aid would help countries involved to retain their population. “Local residents prefer staying to migration,” he said, adding that the upcoming Hungarian EU presidency would also promote “the principle of delivering aid to where there’s a need rather than importing the problem.”