FM: Government will stand up for specifically Hungarian interests regarding Israel

Seven Hungarian citizens are still stranded in Gaza, and cannot leave for security reasons, the foreign minister said.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the Hungarian government will stand up for “specifically Hungarian considerations” at all forums discussing the situation in Israel because freeing Hungarian hostages and bringing those in Gaza to safety is of primary importance.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Minister Szijjártó told a press conference that the roots of the conflict “should not be forgotten or relativized”, despite the varied takes of member states on the situation. “In a brutal terrorist attack, a terrorist organization attacked Israel with thousands of missiles, causing thousands of deaths and injuries. What’s going on now is an anti-terrorist operation, a fight against terrorism,” he said. The success of the operation is in the interest of the entire world, he said. Seven Hungarian citizens are still stranded in Gaza, and cannot leave for security reasons, he said. “We are in constant contact with them. The place they are staying in was hit yesterday, and several of them were lightly injured and taken to hospital. They have all left the hospital by today, and are organising their journey to the border crossing in Rafah,” he said, referring to the only border crossing in the Gaza Strip with Egypt. Minister Szijjártó said he had agreed with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts that the Hungarian citizens and their two Palestinian relatives may leave the Gaza Strip when they arrive there.
“Regarding the conflict in the Middle East and the fight against terrorism, Hungary will only support solutions that enable all dual citizens and their family members to leave the Gaza Strip if they want to,” he said. Hamas is also holding five Hungarians hostage, he said and thanked Qatar for its mediation in the negotiations. “We can back resolutions and proposals of any international organisation only if it calls on Hamas to let the hostages go immediately, without conditions,” he said. The international community also has a task to prevent an escalation, as a war between states in the Middle East “would have unforeseeable consequences”, he said. Minister Szijjártó also highlighted the importance of support for Egypt, saying that instability there would have a dramatic effect on European security. Cairo has a major role in curbing migration to the continent, he said. “If Egypt lost its stability and wasn’t able to act as a barrier, the continent could face migration pressure and security challenges it does not seem to be prepared for,” he said. Hungary is supporting the health care of Gaza refugees in Egypt with 40 million forints (EUR 105,900), he added.