“Hungary is also proving that it is taking responsibility for all of the world’s Christian communities through action”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Tuesday in Budapest.

At the opening of a conference organised on the sidelines of the Hungary-Russia summit with the participation of Middle Eastern Christian Church leaders who have been invited to visit Hungary, the Minister highlighted: “Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting Hungary on Wednesday, and during his talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán one of the most important topics of discussion will be supporting Christian communities in the Middle East”. “The Middle Eastern Church leaders will also be meeting with Mr. Orbán and President Putin, which could contribute to the launching of further projects in the region”, he stated.

“A consensus had developed within international political discourse that the persecution of Christians is the last acceptable form of discrimination”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised. “It is ‘incredible hypocrisy’ that the international community is not prepared to talk about the persecution of Christians”, he declared, adding that it is the one of the major responsibilities of the international community to take action in the interests of Christian communities. “Christianity is the most persecuted religion on Earth: 11 Christians are killed every day for practicing their faith”, he pointed out.

The Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that Hungary has already provided 40 million dollars in aid via the Hungary Helps Program, building and reconstructing homes, churches and schools to create the conditions necessary to enable Christian communities to remain in the land of their birth. “Hungary has already succeeded in helping 50 thousand people, and this number could be a lot higher if the international community were to follow Hungary’s example”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“We are living in a time when Christian communities have more need of their retention capabilities than ever before”, he stated. “The Church leaders invited to attend the Budapest conference are mainly from Syria and Iraq. There has been a crisis in Syria for over eight years, half a million people have lost their lives, and over 12 million people have been forced to leave their homes”, he explained.

According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, we must talk honestly about the situation and recognise that the international community also has a responsibility with relation to the crisis situations that have developed in Europe’s southern and south-eastern vicinity, because of certain decisions and the lack of certain decisions.

“The ideology-based democracy export experiment has failed, the events of the Arab Spring have often opened the way to Islamist forces, the situation has become worse, and the region has become a cradle for extremist ideologies”, he stated. “The persecution of Christians commenced, crisis situations developed, and mass migration began in the direction of Europe”, he added.

“The peace and stability of the region is in Europe’s fundamental interests; today, Europe’s security begins with the peace and stability of the Middle East”, Mr. Szijjártó declared. “Assistance must be taken to where the trouble is instead of bringing the trouble here, meaning that the international community must pay more attention to handling the root causes of mass migration”, he said.

The Minister said that in his view Europe must provide all possible political and economic support to countries that are the guarantors of continued stability and are preventing the further spread of the crises.

“The international community must change focus, and instead of promoting migration it should help people who have had to leave the land of their birth to return home, and must create secure conditions for them at home, and this requires increased action against terrorist organisations”, he explained. “Assistance must be provided to ensure that everyone can live in peace and security in their own homeland”, he added.

In his speech, State Secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Realisation of the Hungary Helps Program Tristan Azbej showcased the Hungary Helps initiative. “This is more than a political or government programme, this is the program of a sympathetic Hungary”, he stated, adding: “According to the majority of Hungarians, the persecution of Christians is a grave problem and the West should be providing assistance”.