Rome, March 8 (MTI) – Budapest and Rome are in a close alliance and work together for international security, the Hungarian foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking in Rome before talks with his Italian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó said that the two countries’ positions on migration were far apart, but they both supported efforts to promote stability in the western Balkans and to fight terrorism.
Apart from migration, the two governments see eye to eye concerning Hungary’s security priorities, Szijjártó said. As an example, he mentioned the two countries’ support for the European integration of the western Balkan countries.
“Tension is mounting in the western Balkans, which could be managed through speeding up (the region’s) European integration”, he said.
Szijjártó also said that Hungarian and Italian troops both participated in military operations against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, and noted a close cooperation to protect Christian communities in the Middle East.
Hungary and Italy are working together to contribute to a common European defence system to “reinforce NATO’s European leg” and to increase the community’s competitiveness, Szijjarto said. He added that Italy was Hungary’s fifth largest trading partner and eighth largest investor.
At a press conference held with Angelino Alfano, his Italian counterpart, Szijjártó said answering a question on migration that the majority of illegal entrants to Hungary came from Serbia or Croatia. “There is no war in either country, their life is not in jeopardy; there is no legal or humanitarian argument why Hungary should allow these people to violate its borders,” Szijjarto said.
The two ministers announced that an Italy-Hungary forum would be held in the near future.
Earlier in the day Szijjártó visited the site of a recent bus crash where 16 Hungarians died near Verona, and laid a wreath to pay tribute to the victims. He thanked local leaders, doctors, and police for their help.
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs