Szijjártó calls on international community to help Christians in Middle East
Madrid, May 24 (MTI) – The international community has a duty to help persecuted Christians who have been forced to flee their homes in the Middle East, the Hungarian foreign minister told a conference in Madrid on Wednesday.
Speaking at the conference on victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East, Péter Szijjártó said that the Middle East’s Christians were in “terrible danger” from the Islamic State terrorist organisation. He urged efforts to create security in the region before the reconstruction of conflict-stricken areas. He insisted that all countries, whether Christian or not, should participate in such efforts.
Szijjártó noted Hungary’s military participation in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation, underlining that the government plans to add another 50 troops to the current Hungarian mission of 150 by 2019.
The Hungarian government has allocated 1.9 million euros to rebuild 200 Christian homes in Iraq, 470,000 euros to buy medical supplies for a hospital, 400,000 euros to build a Christian school, and 500,000 euros to provide humanitarian aid, Szijjártó said. He added that Hungary would also support the Syrian Catholic and Orthodox churches with 1 million euros each.
On the sidelines of the conference, Szijjártó held bilateral talks with three other foreign ministers.
He said it was established at talks with Spanish colleague Alfonso Dastis that Hungary and Spain were in full agreement on four major European issues. The first is Brexit concerning which they established that maintaining the closest possible bilateral economic, business and investment partnerships was in both countries’ interest after Britain’s departure from the EU, Szijjártó said. The second is migration on which they agreed on the need to defend the EU’s external Schengen borders. Hungary and Spain both support the European integration of the western Balkans region, as they consider it “the single and best way” of preempting conflicts in that region. They also agreed on the need to build pragmatic relations between the EU and Russia, Szijjártó said.
He said that at talks with his Iraqi colleague, Ibrahim al-Jaafari highly appreciated Hungary’s contribution to maintaining stability in that country and to the international coalition’s fight against the Islamic State.
At talks with Ayman Al Safadi of Jordan, Szijjártó assured his colleague of Hungary’s preparedness to continue the training of Jordanian troops in dismantling explosives in response to the Jordanian side’s request.