Agreement must be reached between transatlantic community and Russia within shortest possible time

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

There is a need for an agreement between the transatlantic community and Russia within the shortest possible time. This is necessary in order to end the war in Syria and to resolve the immigration crisis, Péter Szijjártó told the Hungarian News Agency MTI by telephone on Wednesday upon rendering an account of his talks in Moscow.

The main topics of the meeting – which lasted more than two hours – between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov were the immigration crisis and the situation in Syria.

The Minister stressed: now that the European Union is experiencing the gravest challenge in its history on account of the flood of immigration, “we should finally recognise and admit that there is no solution to the immigration crisis without pragmatic cooperation with Russia”.

He took the view: the prime source of the wave of immigration is Syria, and the war in Syria can only be brought to an end and peace and stability can only be created in the country if an agreement is reached between the transatlantic community and Russia. “Without an agreement between the United States and Russia, without a transatlantic-Russian agreement, there is no solution to the war in Syria, and as a result, there is no solution to the immigration crisis afflicting Europe either”, he said. He added: Hungary is therefore urging an agreement with Russia as soon as possible as this would permit the resolution of the conflict in Syria within the shortest possible time.

The slower this issue is resolved, the more immigrants will come to Europe, and the greater the pressure of immigration will become, he pointed out. He highlighted: Hungary therefore welcomes the development that the US, Russian, Saudi and Turkish foreign ministers will have talks in Vienna on Friday, and expects that, as a result of this meeting, positions will converge, and preparations may be made for the conclusion of an agreement, in consequence of which “the ending of the war in Syria may become a realistic option already in the short term”.

Mr Szijjártó said: he agreed with his Russian counterpart that international efforts against the Islamic State must be intensified as the more territories they gain control over, the more people will be compelled to leave their homes and the more people will come to Europe.

They also agreed that, in the present situation, it is absolutely necessary to protect and to reinforce Christian values in Europe as well as in the Middle-East because “if a person does not respect his own values, he will not be able to respect the values of others either”, he explained.

In stating the position of the Hungarian Government, Mr Szijjártó pointed out at the meeting that we need the widest possible political dialogue on the occasion of the resolution of the conflict in Syria. First of all, it is necessary to create peace and stability, and the future of the current regime should be decided upon later.

The Foreign Minister further told MTI that he also met with Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova in Moscow, who is the co-chair of the Hungarian-Russian economic mixed committee.

At the meeting the parties agreed “not to over-dramatise the radical fall in trade” as this does not depend on the two countries but on the global political situation, the Minister reiterated. As he said, it is to be hoped that upon the passage of the current negative global political situation, economic cooperation between the two countries will resume as before.

The European sanctions against Russia and the counter-measures introduced by Moscow in response are causing Hungary major difficulties, he said. The Minister added: two years ago, Russia was our second most important trade partner, while in the first half of this year, it only ranked 13th, and Hungarian exports to Russia have decreased to one half this year.

The two Ministers agreed that the energy supply of Central-Europe is an important issue which is yet to be resolved, and therefore efforts must be made to find common solutions which guarantee the region’s gas supply through the diversification of sources and routes.

Further topics of the meeting were the future of agricultural cooperation, and the fact that Hungarian construction industry companies will be given a role in the construction of stadiums for the 2018 football World Cup, Mr Szijjártó said.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Photos: MTI)


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