Brussels (MTI) – Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, chances of a settlement have never been as good as they are today but there will be no solution if Russia and the United States fail to come to terms on the conditions, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said in Brussels on Monday.
US president-elect Donald Trump’s pragmatic position, the Syrian ceasefire agreement and the Astana peace conference starting on Jan. 23 may together pave the way for a settlement, Szijjártó told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
The debate over who should govern that country should only start once peace has been restored. The most proper way would be to let Syrians decide, he said.
“A long-term political solution in the region can only be reached if there is a process of decentralisation that provides every ethnic and religious community with a chance for a safe life,” Szijjártó said.
Christian communities should also be given a chance to return to the region and lead safe lives there, he said. Given that Christians today are unlikely to be able to return safely to the region, an “administrative zone” should be established there so the international community can guarantee the return of Christians, Szijjártó added. But this solution must not harm the territorial integrity or sovereignty of any country in the region, he said.
On the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Szijjártó said the international community must keep doing everything it can to ensure a two-state solution through peaceful negotiations. The Hungarian government does not support any measures that would lead further away from this goal, which was why Hungary neither supported the timing nor the formal arrangements of the recent Paris peace conference to which neither side was invited. “It is strange talking about a two-state solution while neither country is present,” the minister said.
Asked about US President-elect Donald Trump’s comments made to The Times of London in which he called NATO “obsolete”, Szijjártó argued that Trump had referred to a lack of attention given by the military alliance to the threat of terrorism. And it is “undeniable” that NATO should have been “tougher and more effective” in its fight against terrorism, Szijjártó insisted.
“If all of this had been said by a liberal president-elect, I wouldn’t have been surprised had the European liberal media and political elite praised them for how fantastically progressive their suggestions were and said that Europe would do well to consider them,” the minister said.
He said that throughout history, central Europe had always lost out in conflicts between the east and the west, which was why it was now clearly in Hungary’s interest for the US and Russia to find a way to settle their relations.