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Feb 19, 2019

Foreign minister meets Israeli officials to discuss security and economic affairs

Migration to Europe from the south is often stopped at the Israeli border, the foreign minister said

Hungary’s foreign minister has met with Israeli officials to discuss security and economic affairs.

As a member of a delegation led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, met with Avi Dichter, head of the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee and Yuval Rotem, the director general of the ministry of foreign affairs, in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

The minister said that Hungary’s stance, which it “expresses frequently and unequivocally”, is that international organizations often take a “downright unfair and biased approach to Israel”. Hungary has always stood by a balanced and fair approach to the country, he added.

Referring to the Middle East peace process, the minister said “economic and trade restrictions should not be mixed up with the creation of peace,” since the two had nothing to do with each other. The minister said Hungary rejects bans and blockades of products from Israeli settlements, “because this won’t get anywhere”.

The minster also said that Israel and Hungary had “fought side by side” against the UN’s global migration compact. He said this was an important achievement from a security standpoint. Migration to Europe from the south is often stopped at the Israeli border, he added.

Regarding economic cooperation, Minister Szijjártó noted that bilateral trade exceeded 500 million USD in 2018 and that cooperation is thriving in the field of innovative automotive industry products.

In the food processing sector, Hungary boasts the largest kosher abattoir in Europe, which was built with a 540 million HUF (1.7m EUR) grant and a 2 billion HUF credit line from Hungary’s Eximbank. Hungarian food exports to Israel are also rising steadily, he said.