Hungary’s government demands that Hamas release its Hungarian hostages and that the international community do everything in its power to secure the release of those abducted from Israel by the terrorist group, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in New York on Monday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Szijjártó noted that thanks to the joint efforts of Israel and Egypt, the Hungarian citizens who had been stuck in Gaza and wanted to leave had been successful evacuated. He also underscored the importance of minimising civilian casualties in the conflict.
In the video on Facebook, the minister also noted that Hamas was holding five Hungarian citizens hostage. “Therefore we can’t accept any declaration, decision or resolution that doesn’t explicitly and clearly call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” he said.
“We demand that Hamas release the hostages and that the international community do everything it can to secure their release,” Szijjártó added.
Meanwhile, he emphasised the importance of Egypt’s stability, calling the north African country one of Europe’s “main bastions of defence”, given Cairo’s key role in curbing migration pressure.
Szijjártó said he will also meet leaders of the UN’s counter-terrorism body as well as the under-secretary-general responsible for African relations.
Meanwhile, addressing the issue of migration, the minister said the Hungarian authorities last year prevented 275,000 illegal entries and more than 170,000 so far this year, adding that the migrants coming to Hungary’s borders were increasingly aggressive.
“This is, unfortunately, a direct consequence of Brussels pursuing a migration policy that encourages and inspires migration, and constantly fuels the business model of people-smuggling rings,” the minister said. “We have to put a stop to this, because it will have tragic consequences.”
Szijjártó said migration pressure on Europe originating from Africa would become “unbearable” later on if it was left unaddressed. This requires Europe to combat terrorism, as it is one of the root causes of migration waves, he said, noting that this was why Hungary was sending 200 soldiers to Chad in the interest of upholding the stability of the Sahel region. Details: Hungarian government to send military mission to Africa
The minister also underlined the need to bring economic development to the region. “That’s why it’s important that Europe bring developments and investments there that will create jobs, instead of attracting migrants from Africa,” he said.
He noted that Hungary is providing 140 million dollars in tied aid to Africa in addition to carrying out 30 million dollars’ worth of social development schemes. Hungary also supports the survival of Christian communities in 18 countries and offers scholarships to 1,425 students each year to study at Hungarian universities, he added.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó said Hungary’s foreign policy was “highly respected” on the world stage because the government pursued “an honest and sovereign policy”.
“So when it comes to Hungarian foreign policy, everyone knows full well that its rules are written in Budapest instead of being dictated from somewhere else,” he said. “And this sovereign Hungarian foreign policy is indeed respected here in New York, in the UN and on the world political stage.”
As we wrote today, Hungarians worry about Islamist terrorism and sympathise with Israel – latest poll
Joint efforts from the international community can prevent Middle East escalation
A united effort from the international community can prevent conflict escalation in the Middle East, and the countries in the region could return to the hopeful path towards peace carved by the Abraham Accords, Szijjarto said.
It should not be forgotten that the current conflict began with a “really brutal terrorist attack” a month and a half ago, Szijjártó told an informal session of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a ministry statement.
Preventing a repeat of “such a heinous attack” was in the interest of not just Israel, but the entire world, he said, adding successful actions against terrorism were also a global interest.
Highlighting the Hungarian aspects of the situation, Szijjártó said the Hungarian citizens who had been stuck in Gaza and wanted to leave had been successfully evacuated. He expressed thanks to his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts without whom, he said, “it would not have been possible to evacuate those 14 Hungarian citizens who wanted to leave the Gaza Strip”.
He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the five Hungarian citizens held hostage by Hamas. For this reason, he said, Hungary could only accept resolutions, decisions and statements that called for the immediate release of those being held captive.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó underlined the critical need to preserve Egypt’s stability, calling the north African country “one of the major bastions of European security”.
While the international community asks Cairo to take in everyone fleeing Gaza, it should also contribute to preserving the country’s stability, he said, noting that Hungary has offered 100,000 euros in aid to Egypt for the procurement of medical supplies to treat those who have fled Gaza.
Szijjártó said Europe was facing severe security challenges, and the situation in the Middle East had a direct impact on the entire continent.
Hungarians, he said, therefore had a vested interest in the peace and security of the Middle East. He said that in the short term, the international community must do everything possible to prevent escalation and an interstate war in the region.
“Because if this action against terror becomes war between countries, then in the Middle East it would have absolutely … unpredictable consequences, which I think none of us would like to see,” he said, urging members of the international community to “behave very responsibly”.
In the long run, Szijjártó said, it was important to return to the principle of the Abraham Accords which were “the best attempt to offer hope” for peace in the Middle East. He asked the signatories of the normalisation agreements and those “who plan to be part of it” not to give up and to “try to come back to the Abraham Accords”.
“And we do believe that if we join our forces, then we can avoid escalation … in the Middle East, and we will be able to come back to a hopeful path of ensuring that all people in the Middle East can live in peace and under a stable situation,” Szijjártó said.
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