The foreign minister said Washington and Brussels have now joined international humanitarian organizations in their recognition of Hungary’s efforts to aid refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Attending a session of the United Nations Security Council in New York, Péter Szijjártó said the war has sparked a humanitarian crisis in Europe, and it is Ukraine’s neighboring countries — mainly Poland and Hungary — that have to bear the burden of taking in refugees. Even European and American leaders recognize the remarkable efforts of volunteers, civil, charity and church groups and state institutions, he added. “It’s no coincidence that even in Washington and Brussels, where we’re constantly criticized, they’re either not saying anything about us publicly, or they have to admit that along with Poland we’re bearing a huge burden.”
Minister Szijjártó added that he had discussed humanitarian issues with leaders of the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations children’s agency UNICEF and the World Health Organization, all of which he said were paying close attention to Hungary. He noted the International Red Cross has set up a regional base in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, partly because Hungary is not allowing the transit of weapons across its territory and is therefore a safe location for humanitarian activities. UNICEF already has a presence in Budapest with a 370-member headquarters, Minister Szijjártó noted, adding that the WHO has said it was “very pleased” to see that the Hungarian authorities offer not just accommodation and care for refugees but also vaccination against Covid.
Meanwhile, Minister Szijjártó said he would not comment on “the tone and personal remarks” of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky message to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Fulfilling Zelensky’s requests and demands, however, would pose “major security risks”, he said. “I accept that Ukraine and the security of the Ukrainian people come first for the Ukrainian president,” Szijjártó said. “But for us it’s the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people that’s most important.” “If we allowed the transit of weapons, if we delivered weapons and sent troops to Ukraine, we’d be dragging Hungary into the war.”
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter