Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the war in Ukraine has precipitated the emergence of divisive factions, “which is especially bad news for central Europe since the region has always lost out whenever there was a conflict between East and West."
After a meeting of NATO counterparts in Brussels, referring to China’s peace plan for Ukraine, the foreign minister said the plan may provide a suitable starting point for international negotiations. “The sooner a ceasefire and the sooner peace talks begin, the more lives can be saved in Ukraine,” the minister said. Meanwhile, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary will meet its commitment to NATO this year, one year before the deadline, of boosting its defence spending to 2% of GDP. Hungary’s spending will even exceed 2% of its GDP, he told a press conference. Hungary is among nine NATO members meeting the 2% requirement this year, he added, dismissing “false accusations and doubts” regarding Hungary’s “commitment, reliability, and loyalty” to the alliance. Also, since 2019 Hungary has spent at least 20% of its defence budget on developments, he said, adding that 48% of spending last year was on capacity-building, putting Hungary in first place among the alliance’s 31 member states in this regard. Much of the spending is linked to big domestic defence industry investments, the minister said. Regarding preparations for NATO’s summer summit in Vilnius, Minister Szijjártó insisted that challenges facing Europe from the south connected with migration pressure must be addressed there, and he noted the heightened opportunity for terrorist infiltration that mass migration offered. Referring to the war in Ukraine, he said the war had highlighted how easily food supply could be disrupted around the world, leading to acts of violence and the spread of extremist ideologies. Alongside Turkish and several other counterparts, mainly from southern Europe, they agreed that at the next summit, NATO should deal with mounting terrorist threats and security challenges deriving from the south, Szijjártó said. He underlined that NATO is not a party to the war in Ukraine, and this principle should continue to be respected. Everything should be done to prevent any possible direct NATO-Russia confrontation, he added.