Hungary/Belarus – The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, visited Minsk on Monday, 13 February. He met with his Belarusian counterpart, Sergei Aleikov and Economy Minister Aleksandr Chervyakov to discuss trade relations between the two countries, as well as other matters.
At the end of the talks, the Belarusian foreign minister announced that he had agreed with Péter Szijjártó to “hold a regular meeting of the Hungarian-Belarusian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation in the near future”. (…) We hope that the meeting will take place in the spring”, he said.
For his part, Mr. Chervyakov was keen to point out that “despite the unprecedented external pressure, GDP fell by 4.7% by the end of the year, and not by 20% as various economists predicted. The loss of Western and Ukrainian markets was offset by more than 80% with supplies to other destinations. We posted a record high foreign trade surplus of $4.3 billion. We managed to reduce inflation.”
Belarus’ economy minister also said that Minsk was ready “to support the Hungarian partners in mutually beneficial investment projects”, including in the fields of “nuclear energy, agriculture, pharmaceutics” He summed up his country’s position as follows:
“I am convinced that the development of cooperation between Belarus and Hungary in certain areas will advance our relations to a qualitatively new level. For our part, we are open to any proposals.”
For his part, Péter Szijjártó expressed hope for an improvement of the “terrible situation on the border of Belarus and the European Union” and he spoke about how his visit might be viewed in other Western countries: “The international liberal press, Western politicians, my partners – everyone will say how bad it is that I came to Minsk and had talks with my Belarusian colleague. But I want to say one thing to that.
Hungary’s point of view is unequivocal: communication channels should be open. If we close the channels of communication, we will give up hope for peace. We want peace.
(…) Diplomacy and communication are something without which it is impossible to achieve peace.”
This visit to Minsk by the chief Hungarian diplomat was strongly criticized on Twitter by Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya: “The illegitimate regime in Minsk is guilty of terrible crimes against Belarusians & complicity in Russia’s war.
How can the Hungarian foreign minister possibly be friends with the usurper in Minsk?”