Statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following his meeting with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of Russia

5 July 2024, Moscow (Москва)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable President,

Today I had my fourteenth meeting with the President of Russia. The particular significance of this meeting is that it took place in a time of war, at a moment when Europe is in great need of peace. The most important thing for Europe is peace. The Hungarian Presidency sees the next six months and the work to be done then as a peace mission. I told the President that Europe’s exceptional development in recent decades has been based on peace, but now in Europe for two and a half years we have been living in the shadow of war, and this is causing Europe extreme difficulties. We do not feel safe, we see images of destruction and suffering, and this war is now also manifesting itself in a breakdown in economic development and backsliding competitiveness. In short, I have told the President that Europe needs peace. What we have learned over the last two and a half years is that we cannot achieve peace without dialogue and diplomatic channels. Because peace does not come automatically: it has to be made, it has to be worked for. With the President I discussed ways of doing this, and I wanted to identify the shortest route towards peace. I wanted to hear – and did hear – the President’s personal view on three issues: what he thinks about the peace plans on the table and the format for peace negotiations; what he thinks about the relationship between a ceasefire and peace negotiations, and the possibility of a ceasefire before peace negotiations; and I was curious to know the President’s views on the post-war European security system. I am grateful to the President for what was a frank and open discussion.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the last two and a half years the number of people who can talk to everyone, to all the belligerents, has shrunk to almost nothing. Hungary is one of the very few left. This is why I was in Kyiv/Kiev this week, and this is why I am here in Moscow. I have seen that the positions are far apart, and that to end the war and to bring peace a great many steps need to be taken. But in terms of dialogue and restoring dialogue the first important step has been taken today, and I will continue this work.

Thank you very much.