Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary and Kuwait both favor urgent peace talks in Ukraine.
Minister Szijjártó told a joint press conference in Budapest, held with Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah his Kuwaiti counterpart, that conflict can only be resolved through diplomacy. “Given our own history, we, of course, condemn the war; given our own history, we are, of course, committed to protecting and respecting the sovereignty and the principle of territorial integrity. However, both countries believe in a peaceful resolution.” “We’ve made it clear multiple times — both Kuwaitis and Hungarians — that there is no resolution to this war on the battlefield, only casualties of which there are more and more with each passing day,” Minister Szijjártó said. “This war can only be resolved through diplomacy and negotiations.” He said neither Hungary nor Kuwait supplied weapons to the war, only humanitarian aid. This would not change, he said, arguing that weapons deliveries prolonged the conflict and caused more death. “So we would like to make it clear again that it’s time for the peace camp to turn up the volume, because … there are more countries in the world that want peace than those suffering from war psychosis,” he said.
The foreign minister warned that the war in Ukraine should not overshadow “the unprecedented global threat of terrorism”. “Islamic State has yet to be defeated, and if we take a look, we can see that terrorism is rearing its head in Afghanistan, Africa, and in more and more places and continents,” he said after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart in Budapest. Terrorism is one of the main causes of migration, with the two together forming a “vicious cycle”, Minister Szijjártó said, arguing that the threat of terrorism led to mass migration waves, which could be infiltrated by terrorists, enabling them to get from one part of the world to another. “That’s why we attach great importance to the global fight against terrorism, and we thank Kuwait for taking up a leadership role in this, as the country is a leader in the global coalition against the Islamic State,” Szijjártó said. Cooperation between Hungary and Kuwait rests on solid foundations when it comes to the two countries' stances on global issues, he said.
Minister Szijjártó urged stronger cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf region, saying it would be beneficial to both. Hungary is therefore committed to its position that citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s member states should be allowed visa-free travel to the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone and that the EU and the GCC should sign a free trade agreement as soon as possible, Szijjártó said. “Until the European Union takes the necessary steps here, we will take every step possible at the national level,” the minister said. Hungary offers the greatest possible visa preferences to Kuwaiti citizens, is as flexible as possible, and “we always try to be the quickest” in issuing visas in Kuwait City, he added.
Meanwhile, Szijjártó said talks on an investment protection agreement were nearing completion, and a meeting of the mixed economic committee has been convened for September. Also, a direct flight between Budapest and Kuwait City is set to be launched next summer under a tourism agreement signed today, he added. Szijjártó also talked about the importance of boosting energy cooperation, saying the Kuwaiti authorities were looking into a solution by Hungarian oil and gas company MOL that can enhance extraction from depleting oil fields. Also, a successor of Hungarian engineering company Ganz has been chosen to carry out the maintenance of a large portion of Kuwait’s high-voltage electricity network, Szijjártó said.