Vaccines are the only solution to fighting the coronavirus pandemic “because only vaccination can protect us”, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in his address at general debate during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Szijjártó told the assembly that the pandemic was an attack on the entire globe, an attack on all nations and citizens, the ministry said in a statement released early on Friday. “And since the attack is global, defence has to be global as well,” he added.
“This means that we have to enable ourselves to be able to give vaccine to everybody and this is a matter of capacity,” Szijjártó said. The international community must be able to give vaccine to everybody in the world and this requires vaccine to be manufactured in as many locations as possible, he added. “It’s not an ideological and not a political question because saving lives of the people must not be neither ideological nor a political issue. That’s why we urge the regulators, the international, regional and national authorities to carry out a purely professional fact-based procedure when they authorise different types of vaccines,” he said.
Szijjártó said it had also become clear that the pandemic not only constituted a health-care related crisis but an economic one, too. As a result, during the last year and a half the global flow of direct investments fell by 42% and there was a 5.3% drop in the volume of global trade, he added. “Now the most important duty of ours is to save jobs — as many as it is possible,” he said.
Szijjártó said it was also important to focus attention on families, as the Hungarian government was doing. “Families who raise children; because these families have worn a double burden,” he said, noting parents who had to go to work to keep their country running while looking after their children while schools and kindergartens remained closed. Another consequence of Covid was that “a big part of our life has been pushed to the digital space”, he said. Parents and children have created a vulnerable and inexperienced group of users of digital space, and this kind of group is a perfect target for cyber criminals, Szijjártó said. “That’s why we urge putting together strict international regulation which can protect our children and families from the spread of extremist ideologies on the internet, of sexual propaganda and cyber bullying,” he added.
The minister also talked about the dangers of further migratory waves in the world. “The pandemic and migration together construct a vicious circle. The more serious the health-care related and economic related impacts of the Covid are the more people will hit the road and migrate. And the more people are involved in the migratory flows, the more accelerated the virus will spread. So nowadays migration does not only constitute the already well-known cultural, civilisation or security related risks but very serious health-care risks, as well,” he said.
Commenting on the “big failure of the international community after 20 years in Afghanistan”, he said , adding that “now the main duty is to mitigate the damage”. It is necessary to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe place for terrorist organisations and to prevent additional migratory flows stemming from Afghanistan, he added. “Because such flows will mean a direct security threat on both the neighbourhood of Afghanistan and on the European continent,” he said.
The minister said Hungary had already fulfilled its moral duty and evacuated all Afghans who helped Hungarian troops during their mission in Afghanistan. “But we will not receive anyone else. We will protect our border,” he said. The government will reject any kind of quota system for the distribution of migrants, he added.