Szijjarto: Joint efforts from international community can prevent Middle East escalation

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A united effort from the international community can prevent conflict escalation in the Middle East, and the countries in the region could return to the hopeful path towards peace carved by the Abraham Accords, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in New York on Monday.
21. November 2023 5:49

It should not be forgotten that the current conflict began with a “really brutal terrorist attack” a month and a half ago, Szijjarto told an informal session of the United Nations General Assembly, according to a ministry statement.

Preventing a repeat of “such a heinous attack” was in the interest of not just Israel, but the entire world, he said, adding successful actions against terrorism were also a global interest.

Highlighting the Hungarian aspects of the situation, Szijjarto said the Hungarian citizens who had been stuck in Gaza and wanted to leave had been successfully evacuated. He expressed thanks to his Egyptian and Israeli counterparts without whom, he said, “it would not have been possible to evacuate those 14 Hungarian citizens who wanted to leave the Gaza Strip”.

He also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the five Hungarian citizens held hostage by Hamas. For this reason, he said, Hungary could only accept resolutions, decisions and statements that called for the immediate release of those being held captive.

Meanwhile, Szijjarto underlined the critical need to preserve Egypt’s stability, calling the north African country “one of the major bastions of European security”.

While the international community asks Cairo to take in everyone fleeing Gaza, it should also contribute to preserving the country’s stability, he said, noting that Hungary has offered 100,000 euros in aid to Egypt for the procurement of medical supplies to treat those who have fled Gaza.

Szijjarto said Europe was facing severe security challenges, and the situation in the Middle East had a direct impact on the entire continent.

Hungarians, he said, therefore had a vested interest in the peace and security of the Middle East. He said that in the short term, the international community must do everything possible to prevent escalation and an interstate war in the region.

“Because if this action against terror becomes war between countries, then in the Middle East it would have absolutely … unpredictable consequences, which I think none of us would like to see,” he said, urging members of the international community to “behave very responsibly”.

In the long run, Szijjarto said, it was important to return to the principle of the Abraham Accords which were “the best attempt to offer hope” for peace in the Middle East. He asked the signatories of the normalisation agreements and those “who plan to be part of it” not to give up and to “try to come back to the Abraham Accords”.

“And we do believe that if we join our forces, then we can avoid escalation … in the Middle East, and we will be able to come back to a hopeful path of ensuring that all people in the Middle East can live in peace and under a stable situation,” Szijjarto said.