In her address to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, President Katalin Novák said there is no alternative to peace.
“This war also directly affects us Hungarians. It is not just in our neighbourhood. Hungarian fathers and sons living in Ukraine are also giving their lives in the trenches,” the president said, adding that “we want peace. In our country, in Ukraine, in Europe, in the world. Peace and the security that comes with it”. President Novák said at the general debate that “we know that peace is only realistically attainable when at least one side sees the time for negotiations as having come”. “We cannot decide for Ukrainians how much they are prepared to sacrifice, but we have a duty to represent our own nation’s desire for peace,” the president said some 15 minutes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the General Assembly. Novák stressed that Hungary condemns “clearly and unequivocally the violation of international law, the attack on another state, the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which has caused immense suffering and destruction and has destroyed the peaceful life of Europe”.
The president added that Hungary is for the victims and against further escalation, which is why it punches above its weight in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and those fleeing the war. Hungary stands for the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, and understands Ukraine’s desire to be part of the community of European countries, “we expect it to uphold the values that characterise our community”, the president said. The suffering caused by the war affects families first and foremost, Novák said, adding that having visited Kyiv at Zelensky’s invitation twice since the outbreak of the war, she had seen the suffering of the families and “what they experience when the peace is broken”. The president also touched on the demographic challenges facing the world, warning that if the international community did not address this issue, “it will have an immeasurable impact on our economies, societies, and security in the near future”. She noted that last week’s Budapest Demographic Summit, “the most important international forum on demographic issues”, brought together public leaders, thinkers, demographers, and the representatives of family organisations and professional workshops from sixty countries and five continents. The message of the summit was that “pro-family forces stand up for their values and interests”, the president said. “If there is no child, there will be no future,” said Novák. “What is the point of looking after the Earth if we don’t have children and grandchildren to pass it on to?” Hungarians see the solution to the demographic crisis in strengthening and supporting families, Novák said. Hungary protects parental freedom, the president said. “We strongly believe that the right to raise children does not belong to the state, nor to NGOs, nor to the media or the knowledge industry, but to parents,” she added. Anyone who has a child is prepared to fight at any time to ensure that their child can live in peace and freedom, President Novák said. “We recognise that family is the key to security. A strong, united and healthy family is a guarantee of security,” the president said, concluding her address.