President Katalin Novák said the time has come to start talking about peace.
The president told Italian daily Il Messaggero that “we fully agree with Pope Francis” about this. Any signs that Russia is ready for peace must be seized on. Pope Francis received the president on Friday, and she met Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The president said Russia wanted a long war, though any sign of a willingness on its part to explore a peace settlement must be grasped. The death of Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin does not indicate President Vladimir Putin is losing his grip on power, she said in the interview published on Saturday. “Putin feels strong and expects a long war,” she said. President Novák gave briefings on her recent visit to Kyiv and Transcarpathia, and the chances of finding a peace settlement to the conflict. The president said she and the pontiff shared a common position on peace, and ever since Francis’s announcement during his visit to Hungary at the end of April that the church would launch a peace mission — entrusted to Cardinal Matteo Zuppi — progress had been made in this direction. “I trust the moment will soon come when Pope Francis is given a key role in peace negotiations,” she said. Francis told the president that he will publish his next encyclical on protecting the created world on Oct. 4, following on from the 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’. President Novák said she shared the pope’s view on the issue of migration, and she added that she and Meloni had discussed the subject during their meeting. The president said that, faced with mounting migration, “we must work together to prevent Africa from being destabilised since the outflow will not stop overnight.” Regarding the Italian prime minister, Novak said Meloni had to deal with a difficult legacy but she was doing a “good job”, was “wise and honest” and “loves her people”. She said she had known Meloni since her days as a state secretary. “I know that we will be friends when we are grandmothers, too,” she added.