By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest, Hungary
Péter Szijjártó said in a video statement monitored by Worthy News that government officials of both countries appeared open to the suggestion but had not yet confirmed their participation.
It comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalates with a massive influx of refugees trying to enter Hungary and other neighboring nations.
Foreign Minister Szijjártó said he had spoken by telephone to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and to Andriy Yermak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I told them that Hungary and [the Hungarian capital] Budapest are ready to receive both delegations.”
Budapest, the Hungarian capital, “can serve as a secure location for both the Russian and Ukrainian negotiating delegations,” Szijjártó added. “Neither rejected (the proposal), both were grateful, and are considering it,” he said.
“I sincerely hope that within hours or days, there will be an agreement about the start of talks,” the minister stressed. “Hungary’s interest is to see peace in our neighborhood as soon as possible, to end the war as soon as possible.”
Earlier, Israel was also mentioned as an option for peace or ceasefire negotiations, with Jerusalem being suggested by Ukraine. Other options included Poland or Belarus, but the warring nations could not agree on these locations, Szijjártó explained.
Under pressure, including from the opposition, Orbán on Thursday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and his government summoned the Russian ambassador.
He reluctantly approved EU sanctions after warning they could impact energy supplies to countries heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, such as Hungary.
Earlier on Friday, the Kremlin said Putin was prepared to send a delegation to Belarus for peace talks with Ukraine if its armed forces stop fighting.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed that Moscow wanted to negotiate with Kyiv only if Ukraine’s armed forces “lay down their arms,” as “nobody intends to occupy Ukraine.”
But the United States dismissed the offer. “Now we see Moscow suggesting diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun. This is not real diplomacy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
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