Following talks with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said both countries are members of the European Union and Sweden developed close cooperation with NATO, “it is not an exaggeration to call that country an ally of Hungary,” he said.
In regards to defense cooperation, Minister Szijjártó noted that Hungary was using Gripen aircraft for its own air defense and to aid the Baltic states and Slovenia. Meanwhile, 23 Swedish troops are serving in an international cargo unit in Hungary, he added.
The minister noted that Linde’s visit is the first by a Swedish foreign minister to Hungary in nine years. Bilateral talks are especially important since the two governments see certain issues differently, he said. Sweden is currently running the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Hungary will take over that of the Council of Europe (CoE) next month. The two positions will be especially important “at a time when tensions are growing between the East and the West,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó said the Hungarian CoE presidency will focus on the protection of national minorities. Hungary supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity but will not accept infringements to Hungarian minorities’ rights during the fights in the eastern parts of the country, he said, and expressed hope that the OSCE will strive to ensure international rights.
Linde underlined the importance of open dialogue which enabled the two politicians to discuss issues such as the rule of law, and the state of human rights and gender policy in Hungary. She noted the 100th anniversary of Hungarian-Swedish diplomatic relations last year.