Speaking in New York on Wednesday, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that with the war in Ukraine becoming increasingly brutal, it is crucial that the United Nations play an even more active role in creating peace in the country. Addressing a session of the UN General Assembly on the financing of peacebuilding activities, Minister Szijjártó said he was from a country that faced multiple security challenges, noting the ongoing war in neighbouring Ukraine. He said those who were born in the late 1970s or later “had a legitimate hope that during our lifetime we will not have to be faced with war in our neighborhood.” “But this legitimate hope of ours has been recently destroyed.”
“We, the Hungarian people did not want this war in the neighborhood and we do not want this war to be continued,” he said. “We do want peace,” Minister Szijjártó said that each and every second of the war in Ukraine posed a security risk to Hungary. Under such circumstances the government’s priority is to maintain peace in Hungary and guarantee the security of the country and its people, he said. He urged the international community to make every effort to ensure that the war came to an end as soon as possible and that it did not spread beyond Ukraine’s borders.
To avoid Hungary getting dragged into the war, the government has decided not to send weapons to Ukraine and to ban the transit of weapons deliveries through Hungary’s territory, the minister noted. Had Hungary not done this, it would have risked becoming part of the conflict, he added. Minister Szijjártó said innocent people were dying in Ukraine and millions had been forced to leave their homes. As a neighbouring country, Hungary has taken in 640,000 refugees from Ukraine who have received treatment and accommodation, Szijjártó said, adding that those staying in the country for an extended period were being given work, while children are offered school placement. He said Hungary will take in all refugees from Ukraine. Hungary has sent over 1,000 tonnes of aid to Ukraine and will send more, he said.
Minister Szijjártó urged the opening of humanitarian corridors, saying civilians must be allowed to leave the areas that are under siege. Hungary, therefore, supports the proposal to set up humanitarian contact groups, he added. Minister Szijjártó said the UN should play a more active role in establishing peace in Ukraine. Hungary will continue to guarantee the conditions necessary for the International Red Cross to conduct its operations, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary’s decision not to send weapons to Ukraine ensured that humanitarian aid could cross the Ukraine-Hungary border. The war in Ukraine is becoming increasingly brutal and if it is not brought to an end as soon as possible, its consequences will be even more tragic, Minister Szijjártó said. That is why, he said, it was high time for the UN to activate its peacebuilding competencies to achieve peace in Ukraine, for which the peacebuilding fund could be a useful tool.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter