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Orban asks Erdogan to support his Ukraine peace initiative

The Hungarian prime minister has described the Turkish president as the only leader with success in mediating the conflict

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to join him in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the Ukraine conflict. The two leaders met on the sidelines of NATO’s summit in Washington.

In a video from the event published to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Orban called on Erdogan to “support us in our mission of peace,” adding that “with joint efforts we can take the next step towards peace.”

Orban noted that the positions of Moscow and Kiev remain “far from each other,” but named the Turkish president as the only leader with prior success in mediating the conflict. Orban was referring to the grain deal concluded in Ankara in 2022.

The Hungarian leader is on a “peace mission” since his country assumed the rotating European Council presidency this month. Orban has said that he aims to find a resolution to the Ukraine crisis by holding talks with the “five main actors” in the conflict, including Ukraine, Russia, China, the EU and the US.

Over the past few weeks, Orban has already met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, traveled to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, visited Moscow to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. 

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Top EU officials have however disavowed Orban’s diplomatic tour, insisting that no negotiations can be held without the direct involvement of Ukraine, and particularly not with Russia. Some EU officials are even considering revoking Hungary’s presidency due to Orban’s actions, according to Politico.

Orban has dismissed the criticism and pointed out that he does not need any special mandate to speak to the parties to the conflict in an effort to find a peaceful solution. He has also said that his meetings cannot be considered bona fide negotiations, and therefore do not need the approval of the bloc.

At the same time, the Hungarian leader has acknowledged that his country does not possess enough political clout to have a significant impact on the conflict, which he says must eventually be resolved by larger powers. Nevertheless, he has stressed that Budapest has the potential to be a “good tool in the hands of God” in promoting peace.


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