Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hungarian FM calls intl response to tear-gas 'bizarre'. -- EU had to put together a force to defend Greece's borders

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto on Thursday called the international political and media response to the tear gas and water cannon used by police to quell refugee unrest "bizarre and shocking".

Speaking at a news conference also attended by European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, and Interior Minister Sandor Pinter, Szijjarto reiterated that police had been attacked by rock and pavement-throwing people.

Hungarian riot police on Wednesday fired tear gas and water cannons at protesting refugees trying to enter the country at the border with Serbia, according to media reports.

Criticizing Hungary for its response was tantamount to an invitation for further violence, said the minister.

Instead, said Szijjarto, the European Union (EU) had to put together a force to defend Greece's borders, to which Hungary would gladly contribute forces and funding.

He also recommended EU assistance to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon in financing their refugee camps, and in establishing new ones.

"Either we find a solution outside the European Union," he said, "or there will simply be no solution to the crisis."

Avramopoulos said Hungary's fence had merely postponed the problem, and pushed it towards other countries.

There is no wall and no ocean that cannot be crossed when people are threatened with violence, he said.

At the same time, he reassured Hungary that it was not alone and called on Budapest to keep cooperating with the EU.

He also called on the EU members to work together to seek a solution.

Meanwhile, Pinter said Hungary was ready to cooperate and agreed that a joint solution was necessary, noting no one country can resolve the problem on its own.

  • Pinter pointed out that while many people attempting to cross into the EU were refugees fleeing for their lives, others were taking advantage of their vulnerability and crossing with them for purely economic reasons.
To date, he said, Hungary had spent over 200 million euros (about 226 million US dollars) on protecting its borders and providing assistance for refugees.
  Xinhua -

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