23 Jan

The main driving force behind the proposal for new sanctions against Russia appears to be the compliance, with several EU Member States wanting to be seen to act, Foreign and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels on Monday.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the minister said in a press conference after the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting that the main driver behind the new sanctions package proposed by some against Russia is the need to comply.

"So several EU Member States want to give the impression of action, and I think that is the number one guiding principle," he said.

He underlined that on January 29th, he would meet his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba and the head of the Kyiv Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, in Uzhhorod (Ungvár, UA) and will try to work through all the issues that are causing difficulties in bilateral relations today.

In his words, this is also linked to the fact that Hungary still needs to contribute to the payment of another 500 million euros from the European Peace Facility for arms supplies to Ukraine.

"Here we said that we are willing to consider releasing this aid if we get guarantees that Ukraine will not discriminate negatively against more Hungarian companies or cause them problems by putting them on the list of international sponsors of the war without any merit or reason," he recalled.

"We will see if we can move forward next Monday, January 29th," he added.

The minister then reiterated Hungary's position on the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU, saying that the European Council in December had taken an "incorrect, wrong and damaging decision," for which Hungary does not wish to accept any responsibility.

"And this will continue to be our position. Of course, we understand that they are trying to discredit this position; they are putting pressure on us, sometimes by saying that the position is not tough enough, sometimes by other means, but we are not affected by this. We have sworn to represent the national interest, and the pressure they put on us in this case sofar has not impacted the Hungarian position whatsoever," he stated.

In connection with next week's extraordinary EU Summit, he confirmed that the Hungarian government would not be a partner in "mixing things that are not related to each other." "That's why it's not worth contacting us in a bazaar-style with different options; things that have nothing to do with each other, shall not be mixed" he said.

Szijjártó also pointed out that his Israeli counterpart took part in the discussion of the relevant agenda item of the meeting too, during which several of them expressed critical views on Israel, which were very far from the Hungarian position.

He emphasized that there was no heated debate; instead, the Israeli foreign minister highlighted the need for cooperation, firmly standing by his country's national position.

Source: MTI-Hungarian News Agency