Foreign Minister underlines critical need to preserve Egypt’s stability

Minister Szijjártó said Europe was facing severe security challenges, and the situation in the Middle East had a direct impact on the entire continent.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has underlined the critical need to preserve Egypt’s stability, calling the North African country “one of the major bastions of European security”. While the international community asks Cairo to take in everyone fleeing Gaza, it should also contribute to preserving the country’s stability, he said, noting that Hungary has offered 100,000 euros in aid to Egypt for the procurement of medical supplies to treat those who have fled Gaza.

Addressing an informal session of the United Nations General Assembly, Minister Szijjártó said Europe was facing severe security challenges, and the situation in the Middle East had a direct impact on the entire continent. Hungarians, he said, therefore had a vested interest in the peace and security of the Middle East. He said that in the short term, the international community must do everything possible to prevent escalation and an interstate war in the region. “Because if this action against terror becomes a war between countries, then in the Middle East it would have absolutely … unpredictable consequences, which I think none of us would like to see,” he said, urging members of the international community to “behave very responsibly”. In the long run, Szijjártó said, it was important to return to the principle of the Abraham Accords which were “the best attempt to offer hope” for peace in the Middle East. He asked the signatories of the normalisation agreements and those “who plan to be part of it” not to give up and to “try to come back to the Abraham Accords”. “And we do believe that if we join our forces, then we can avoid escalation … in the Middle East, and we will be able to come back to a hopeful path of ensuring that all people in the Middle East can live in peace and under a stable situation,” Szijjártó said.

Meanwhile, addressing the issue of migration in an interview given before the meeting, the minister said the Hungarian authorities last year prevented 275,000 illegal entries and more than 170,000 so far this year, adding that the migrants coming to Hungary’s borders were increasingly aggressive. “This is, unfortunately, a direct consequence of Brussels pursuing a migration policy that encourages and inspires migration, and constantly fuels the business model of people-smuggling rings,” the minister said. “We have to put a stop to this because it will have tragic consequences.” Szijjártó said migration pressure on Europe originating from Africa would become “unbearable” later on if it was left unaddressed. This requires Europe to combat terrorism, as it is one of the root causes of migration waves, he said, noting that this was why Hungary was sending 200 soldiers to Chad in the interest of upholding the stability of the Sahel region. The minister also underlined the need to bring economic development to the region. “That’s why it’s important that Europe bring developments and investments there that will create jobs, instead of attracting migrants from Africa,” he said. He noted that Hungary is providing 140 million dollars in tied aid to Africa in addition to carrying out 30 million dollars worth of social development schemes. Hungary also supports the survival of Christian communities in 18 countries and offers scholarships to 1,425 students each year to study at Hungarian universities, he added.

Meanwhile, Minister Szijjártó said Hungary’s foreign policy was “highly respected” on the world stage because the government pursued “an honest and sovereign policy”. “So when it comes to Hungarian foreign policy, everyone knows full well that its rules are written in Budapest instead of being dictated from somewhere else,” he said. “And this sovereign Hungarian foreign policy is indeed respected here in New York, in the UN and on the world political stage.” On the subject of migration, Szijjártó said that instead of encouraging migration, the international community should bolster security and the economy in migrants’ countries of origin the way Hungary is working to do. Hungary, he said, was protecting not just its own border, but also the European Union’s external border against a “massive illegal wave of migration” on the busiest migration route leading to Europe. He lamented that some in the European Union considered border protection a human rights issue rather than a security issue. He added that the Hungarian government favoured strict border protection and made it clear “that violating a border is a crime and it has to be addressed properly”. Szijjarto said migration could only be stopped by tackling its root causes, such as security problems, the threat of terrorism and poverty. Terrorism and migration, he said, formed “an evil cycle”, arguing that the former was both a cause and a consequence of the latter. He said migration waves could be infiltrated by terrorists, making the threat of terrorism in Europe greater, while certain Western European countries were seeing the emergence of parallel societies, “no-go zones” and rising anti-Semitism. Hungarians, he said, had a vested interest in the success of the fight against terrorism, and the country contributed to that international effort. He said Africa, and specifically the Sahel, was one of the top origin regions of migration towards Europe. Hungary is therefore sending 200 troops to Chad in cooperation with its government to support the military there and prevent further migration waves, he added. The minister also underlined the importance of developing the region’s economy, emphasising the need for investments, job creation and technology exports, in which, he said, Hungary was doing its part.