Orbán and Putin Seek “Quickest Path to Peace” – Orbán in Newsweek: “The Point of NATO is Peace, Not Endless War”

 

Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin hold a press conference in Moscow, July 5, 2024

 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has wrapped up his “peace mission” in Moscow with a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called the overture  “an attempt to restore dialogue.” Writing in Newsweek, Orbán said that “The Point of NATO is Peace, Not Endless War”.

“I have concluded my talks in Moscow with President Putin”, Orbán wrote on X. “My goal was to open the channels of direct communication and start a dialogue on the shortest road to peace. Mission accomplished! To be continued on Monday…”

During the joint press conference, Orbán “pointed out that past European progress was built on peace, and the current war has severely affected the continent’s sense of security and economic stability”, spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said. “Orbán also discussed several key issues with President Putin, including the evaluation of existing peace plans, the possibility of a ceasefire and subsequent peace talks, and the future European security structure post-war. He highlighted the necessity of dialogue and diplomatic channels, underscoring Hungary’s rare position of being able to communicate with both warring parties.”

Vladimir Putin called his talks with Orbán a “substantive, direct and honest discussion”, noting “It is important that we maintain a dialogue even in the current difficult geopolitical situation.”

Orbán had told him about his recent meetings in Kiev, Putin said, where he advanced a ceasefire proposal “to create conditions for peace negotiations with Moscow.”

Putin said Russia “remains open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia.”

“Kiev is still not ready to abandon the idea of waging ‘war until final victory’,” Putin said, criticizing that “the Kiev regime does not allow the very idea of cessation of hostilities because in this case the pretext for extending martial law disappears. And if the martial law has to be cancelled, it means that the elections, which were not held on time, will have to be held. But the chances of winning them are close to zero for the Ukrainian rulers who have lost their ranking and legitimacy.”

Putin noted Russia had advanced a “concrete and genuine peace proposal” June 14, which lays out conditions for “full and final end to the conflict.” The Russian proposal was ignored by the West, and Russia was not invited to the June 15-16 “Summit on Peace in Ukraine” in Lucerne, Switzerland, rendering it completely useless.

Given that Hungary currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Putin said he and Orbán “exchanged views on the state of affairs in relations between Russia and the European Union, which are currently at their lowest point. We also talked about the tentative principles of a future security architecture in Europe, also tentative.”

Putin praised Orbán’s peace efforts as “an attempt to restore dialogue.”

The trip to Moscow drew strong rebukes from EU leaders and officials, despite Orbán insisting he was not representing the union. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused Hungary’s prime minister of “appeasement” with regards to Putin. “Only unity and determination will pave the path to a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine,” she claimed.

Over the last week, Ukrainian armed forces lost up to 13,525 soldiers in battle, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on Friday.

 

Writing in Newsweek, Orbán said that “The Point of NATO Is Peace, Not Endless War”

“It is worth remembering that the most successful military alliance in world history started as a peace project, and its future success depends on its ability to maintain peace,” Orbán wrote. “But today, instead of peace, the agenda is the pursuit of war; instead of defense it is offense. All this runs counter to NATO’s founding values. Hungary’s historical experience is that such transformations never lead in a good direction. The task today should be to preserve the alliance as a peace project.”

“Today ever more voices within NATO are making the case for the necessity—or even inevitability—of military confrontation with the world’s other geopolitical power centers,” Orbán wrote. “This perception of inevitable confrontation functions like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more that NATO’s leaders believe conflict to be inevitable, the greater will be their role in precipitating it.”

The “self-fulfilling nature of this confrontation prophecy” is illustrated by the news that “preparations have begun for a possible NATO operation in Ukraine—and even high-level reports that troops from NATO member countries are already near the Ukrainian front”, Orbán wrote. Hungary would not participate in such efforts, he said, and has reached an agreement with NATO exempting it from its direct support efforts in Ukraine, whether military or financial.

“As a peace-loving nation, we understand NATO as a defensive alliance—which this agreement helps to ensure. Those who argue in favor of confrontation typically base their arguments on the military superiority of NATO and the Western world,” Orbán criticized.

“The great historian Arnold Toynbee argued that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” As the strongest military alliance the world has ever known, it is not defeat at the hands of any external enemy that we should fear. An external enemy, if it has any sense, will not dare to launch an attack on any NATO member country. But we should very much fear our own rejection of the values that gave birth to our alliance. The purpose for which NATO was created was to secure peace in the interest of stable economic, political, and cultural development. NATO fulfills its purpose when it wins peace, not war. If it chooses conflict instead of cooperation, and war instead of peace, it will be committing suicide,” he stated.

In his first public appearance since a May 30 assassination attempt, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico commended Orbán’s attempts at mediation, Hungarian spokesman Zoltan Kovcas wrote. “Mr Fico expressed admiration for PM Orbán’s trips to Kyiv and Moscow to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, respectively. He emphasized that there cannot be enough peace initiatives to prevent the Ukraine war from escalating into a broader military conflict.”

Fico has charged Soros-funded media and NGOs for inspiring the assassination attempt on his life  May 30 by a radical left-wing activist.

Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party and Santiago Abascal’s Spanish Vox Party will be joining Orbán’s “Patriots for Europe” party along with the Austrian Freedom Party and the Czech Action of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), Hungarian spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote.

Marine LePen’s Nationaly Rally is expected to join after French elections Sunday.

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