In his address to the UN General Assembly’s emergency session on the Russia-Ukraine conflict in New York, the foreign minister said Hungary calls on the international community to finally focus on saving human lives by achieving a ceasefire in Ukraine and creating peace as soon as possible.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told delegates that Hungary, as a neighboring country of Ukraine, experienced the tragic consequences of the war firsthand. Hungary, he noted, is engaged in its biggest-ever humanitarian mission, adding that more than one million refugees have crossed Hungary, and the authorities are providing health care and schooling to those who want to stay in the country. The war, he said, had only brought about suffering and had “no winners, only losers”. “Hundreds or thousands of people are losing their lives every day." Minister Szijjártó said the greatest duty of the international community was to save lives, and this required peace, as “neither arms deliveries nor sanctions save lives” but instead helped to prolong the war and threatened its escalation. The Hungarian foreign minister called on the global community to focus on securing an immediate ceasefire and starting peace talks as soon as possible. Szijjártó underlined the importance of dialogue and “keeping channels of communication open”. The United Nations, he added, played an important role in this, having been established with the aim of serving as a platform for dialogue between opponent states. “We urge the United States and Russia to start talks within the framework of the UN as soon as possible,” he said. “The situation in Ukraine may appear less tragic if viewed from a distance of several hundred or thousand kilometres on the other side of the ocean, but for us, here, in [Ukraine’s] immediate neighbourhood, it is clear that we are in the 12th hour,” Szijjártó said. He said Hungary had already “paid a high price” for the war, noting skyrocketing inflation and the many Hungarians who had been drafted in Transcarpathia and died in the war. Minister Szijjártó also called on politicians around the world to refrain from taking any measure or making any statement that could lead to the conflict’s escalation and prolongation. “Central Europe has always emerged at the losing end when there was a conflict between East and West. This is why Hungary does not want another Cold War, another division of blocs.” “A war always signals the failure of diplomacy and peace always means the success of diplomacy. 2023 will hopefully be a year of peace and reconstruction.”