After meeting his Belarusian counterpart, Syarhey Aleynik, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said hope for peace in Ukraine remains as long as there are open channels of communication between the parties, and so maintaining dialogue with Belarus is very important.
Following a meeting of the Hungarian-Belarusian intergovernmental committee of economic cooperation in Budapest on Wednesday, Minister Szijjártó said that despite the “long litany of criticism and attacks that are sure to follow, our meeting in Budapest today was very important." Hungary stands on the side of peace, and wants the war in neighbouring Ukraine to end as swiftly as possible as that is the only way to save lives, “Hungarian lives among them”, he said. “It is very clear that we are in the 25th hour, and the danger of escalation looms larger than ever,” Minister Szijjártó said. An escalation would first hit the countries near the armed conflict the hardest, so avoiding such a development is a priority, he added. Minister Szijjártó said he had asked Aleynik to do everything in his government’s power to avoid escalation. Closing channels of communication would be tantamount to “the world giving up hope for peace”, he said. Belarus hosted peace talks in the conflict earlier, Szijjártó said, expressing hope that similar talks would restart soon.
The foreign ministers discussed at their meeting in Budapest developing cooperation in sectors not affected by sanctions. Regarding the security of energy supplies, “a critical issue for Hungary,” Minister Szijjártó noted that 80% of the country’s oil supplies come through the Druzhba pipeline crossing Belarus. “So far, Belarus has been a trustworthy, reliable and fair partner, and has ensured uninterrupted deliveries,” he said, adding that Aleynik has promised to continue deliveries. The ministers have also touched on the issue of nuclear energy and a related agreement they signed at their meeting, he said. Sharing experiences with Belarus, which is building similar nuclear blocks to those under construction in Hungary, is important, he said. “Nuclear security is of universal, global interest, regardless of the geopolitical situation,” he said.