Foreign Minister slams US Ambassador to Hungary for spreading war propaganda

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the US was trying to push Hungary into a war even though the country was part of a “global pro-peace majority”.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has slammed David Pressman, the US Ambassador to Hungary, saying he was spreading “war propaganda”, and the US was trying to push Hungary into a war even though the country was part of a “global pro-peace majority”.

Minister Szijjártó spoke at a press conference held jointly with Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, responding to a question on Pressman’s statement on Thursday, which said: “While we should be focusing on the hot war on our doorstep, others are focused elsewhere on fake ‘wars,’ on culture ‘wars’.” “Ambassador Pressman said we should be concerned with war … this is also clear from their posters and statements … But we want nothing to do with that, we want to concern ourselves with peace rather than war,” he said. Regarding Hungary’s contract on gas deliveries with Russia, Szijjártó noted that Hungary had weathered “even the hardest energy crises” without having to introduce restrictions. Energy supplies have been and will remain uninterrupted, he said. Energy prices in Hungary are expected to fall in the coming months, he said. “Due to the pricing formula, movements on the international market usually appear in Hungarian prices with a two-month delay,” he said. On changes to the contract on the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant, he said there were no structural changes in the pipeline which would impact the contractor or the project company. The current amendments are “technical changes accelerating the investment. We expect the European Union to allow the modifications to go through as they are fully compliant with EU regulations,” he said.

Since peace is the only solution to the economic, energy and food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, Hungary and Bangladesh are part of the “pro-peace majority”, the foreign minister said. Though Hungary and Bangladesh are far apart geographically, they face the same major challenges because of the war, Szijjártó told a joint press conference with Tipu Munshi, Bangladesh’s commerce minister, according to a ministry statement. The triple economic, energy and food supply crisis affects the entire world, and Bangladesh, too, faces serious challenges due to the war and the sanctions imposed in response to it, the minister said. These challenges can only be overcome by achieving peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, Szijjártó said, adding this was another reason why both Hungary and Bangladesh were part of the “global pro-peace majority”. The armed conflict has triggered an energy supply crisis worldwide, meaning that countries that can produce as much of their own energy as possible are the most secure, he said. Hungary and Bangladesh are building nuclear power plants with the same technology, with a view to ensuring their independence from the price increases on the international energy market and thereby strengthening their sovereignty, Szijjártó said. The two countries have elevated nuclear cooperation to a strategic level and have agreed to share with each other their experiences in the construction and operation of their nuclear plants, he said. They have also signed a comprehensive training agreement as part of which 30 Bangladeshi students a year can study nuclear engineering in Hungary, the minister added. Nuclear energy is cheap, clean and safe, Minister Szijjártó said, adding that Hungary was committed to building its nuclear plant. Any European attempt aimed at thwarting the Paks upgrade project is seen as “an attack on our sovereignty”, he added. Szijjártó called on the European Commission to approve the modified construction and financing contracts of the Paks project as soon as possible, saying they were fully in line with EU regulations. Concerning bilateral ties, Szijjártó hailed Hungary and Bangladesh’s relations as reliable and predictable. Bilateral trade turnover reached a new record last year, boosted by demand for Hungarian pharmaceuticals and Bangladeshi clothing, he said. Szijjártó said Hungary and Bangladesh had finalised the text of an economic cooperation agreement and had reached a deal on a double taxation avoidance treaty. Meanwhile, he said that a record 1,643 Bangladeshi students had applied for 140 scholarships available to enrol at Hungarian universities this year.