Budapest, December 4 (MTI) – The foreign ministry is asking Hungarians to be extra cautious when travelling abroad before, during and after the Christmas holidays, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Sunday.
He asked travellers to register on the consular service website, specifying not only the destination country but also the city. He told a press conference that Hungary’s foreign representative offices, embassies and consulate generals will operate an on-call service around the clock.
He said the US state department has also warned US citizens of the risk of terror attacks when travelling in Europe and Europool has issued a warning that the Islamic State terrorist organisation is likely to plan further attacks.
Whereas such attacks were mostly directed at police or state officials in the past, it is now believed that attacks against civilians may become more focal, according to the IS’s strategy. Attacks against IS in several areas in Iraq, including Mosul and its neighbourhood, could also encourage the terrorists to take revenge, Szijjártó said.
In response to a question about a Syrian national sentenced to ten years for leading an attack against Hungarian police by migrants who wanted to enter Hungary illegally, he said such an act must have consequences, and everybody must know this. It is the court’s responsibility to rule, he said, but added that in his personal opinion, calling this a terrorist act was not something he would object to.
Commenting on his recent decision calling on Hungarian diplomats to stay away from commemorations of the December 1 national holiday organised by Romania, he said Hungary had always respected the sensitivities of other nations in connection with historical events and expected the same from others. Hungarians have nothing to celebrate on December 1 (the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania was announced on this day in 1918), especially not together with the Romanians, so it is understandable that Hungarian diplomats would not attend receptions organised by the Romanian authorities on this day.
Former Romanian President Basescu’s reaction (calling for the expulsion of the Hungarian ambassador in Bucharest and the recall of the Romanian ambassador from Budapest) speaks volumes about someone who would make such remarks, Szijjártó said.
He noted that elections that influence the long-term future of Europe were taking place on Sunday, including the presidential election in Austria and a referendum in Italy. Hungary will respect the decisions of the Austrians and the Italians, he said, and added that he would have a meeting with his Austrian counterpart on the sidelines of a multilateral meeting in Vienna on Monday.
Commenting on the referendum in Italy, he said Italy is Hungary’s fifth largest trade partner and an important export market to Hungary, so it is in Hungary’s interest that Italy should be strong.