Szijjarto in NY: Resolve Syrian conflict to stop European migrant crisis
New York, September 29 (MTI) – The European migrant crisis cannot be resolved without putting an end to the conflict in Syria, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers held at the United Nations general assembly in New York on Monday.
Commenting on the meeting, Szijjarto told MTI, “Ever since the much-reported remarks made in Germany welcoming all Syrians, everybody at the border is claiming to be Syrian and they obviously do not have a passport.”
“It was easy to see at the New York meeting that there are still different approaches to the issue of Syria within the EU,” he said, adding that new, innovative methods are needed to resolve the crisis since the old ones do not work.
The Hungarian government agrees with the German chancellor that the Syrian conflict can only be resolved by involving everyone; the EU and the transatlantic community should cooperate more closely with Russia, he said.
The minister told European counterparts that increased efforts are needed to fight Islamic State by way of air strikes and training because the IS is destabilising large areas, forcing more and more people to leave their homes and set off for Europe. He noted that 150 Hungarian soldiers provide training services in Erbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
Szijjarto noted he had signed an agreement with Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on cooperation between the two ministries, and this will involve regular bilateral political consultations. Szijjarto noted that Afghanistan is a migrant country of origin and therefore stabilising it is in the interest of Hungary and Europe as a whole.
Hungary was right to allocate half million dollars annually between 2015 and 2017 to train security forces in Afghanistan and training officers will stay in the country in the future, Szijjarto said. Serious thinking is needed at the NATO summit in Warsaw concerning the situation in Afghanistan after 2017, he added. “The worst would be to withdraw forces … allowing everything built with serious efforts and sacrifices over the years to go to ruin.”
Rabbani made it clear at the talks that keeping young people in the country was a primary ambition of his government, Szijjarto said.
He added that he had also held talks with Tunisian counterpart Taieb Baccouche, who agreed that global responsibility and action is needed to handle migration. Libyan instability and resulting migration affect Tunisia and Europe negatively, so joint efforts are needed to stop it, he said. The minister assured Baccouche of the Hungarian government’s support for the fight against terrorism.
Commenting on talks with Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Abdyldaev Erlan Bekeshovich, Szijjarto said that even while the EU is preparing a strategy for central Asia and trying to meet everyday challenges “we must keep in mind the higher dimension”. The Kyrgyz Republic recently joined the Eurasian Union and it is a European and Hungarian interest to develop ties with the country, he said. The ministers agreed that their countries would sign an agreement for investment protection and double tax avoidance. Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 20 million euro credit line to help Hungarian companies participate in the pharmaceuticals and energy sectors in Kyrgyzstan, he noted.
Szijjarto also met Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, and proposed that the UAE should open an embassy in Hungary to boost trade relations.
At a meeting with Gilbert Saboy, his counterpart from Andorra, Szijjarto assured Saboy that it was in Hungary’s interest that Andorra should sign an association agreement with the EU as soon as possible.