President Novák pushes for peace at Council of Europe meeting

The president said the Council of Europe is key in promoting and protecting human rights and has done much for democracy and fundamental freedom rights.

Speaking in Reykjavík on Wednesday, President Katalin Novák said that as a Christian conservative politician, she considered it the most important task to seek out the possibility of bringing about a fair peace to end the war in Ukraine.

Addressing a meeting of the Council of Europe, President Novák said if all conditions of a just peace were met that would clear the path not only for a ceasefire but reconciliation under an enduring peace. The heads of state and government of the Council of Europe have an extraordinary responsibility in advancing and ensuring peace for the citizens of their countries, she said and welcomed that an increasing number of leaders supported a fair and just peace which she said was “the universal desire of all our citizens”. The Council of Europe is key in promoting and protecting human rights, and has done much for democracy and fundamental freedom rights, she said. “This is the right time and place to send a firm message, that of the right to peace,” she said. At the same time, it is a priority that the fight for freedom does not curb the rights of minorities, she said. “Respect for minorities’ rights is one of the foundations of European cooperation, and cannot be set aside,” she said. The summit should have been an opportunity to celebrate achievements, she said: “Our economies have never been this advanced, we have left the coronavirus pandemic behind, we learnt to bolster common values and to handle cultural, historic and linguistic differences…”. At the same time, Europe is facing grave challenges: “There is a war in continental Europe and our peaceful lifestyle is under attack,” she said. “Russia’s mad decision to attack Ukraine, a neighbour of Hungary, has upended our world,” she said. Aggression and attack on a sovereign state is unacceptable, she said. War crimes must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account, she added.

The president also held talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Reykjavik on Tuesday. President Novák said in a bilingual post on Facebook that there has not been a summit like the one beginning in Reykjavík for the last 20 years. “Ahead of the session, I had a meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron,” she said. “Europe needs strategic autonomy to be able to make decisions in its own best interests. However, for this, peace in Ukraine is needed as soon as possible. We count on each other,” she added. “I stand up for peace at international forums as well: now, at the Council of Europe Summit, a meeting of European leaders in Reykjavik, and on Thursday in New York at the UN,” Novák said. On Wednesday, President Novák held “friendly talks” with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. “We are allies in good times and bad,” Novák said on Facebook. The president said both took a common stand for traditional family values and against migration. Reykjavík is hosting a meeting of heads of state and government from 46 countries this week.