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At UN, Hungary calls for cooperation with Russia

AFP , Saturday 3 Oct 2015
Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at UN Headquarters. (Photo: AP)

Hungary's foreign minister told the UN General Assembly on Saturday that there can be no let-up in Europe's migration crisis without cooperation with Russia to end the war in Syria.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also appealed for cooperation with Russia to fight the Islamic State group, four days after Moscow starting bombing raids in Syria.

"It is obvious that if we are not successfully making peace in Syria, then the migratory pressure will not decrease in Europe," Szijjarto told the 193-nation assembly.

"There is going to be no form of progress, no possibility to resolve the crisis in Syria unless there is agreement and pragmatic cooperation between the trans-Atlantic community and Russia," he added.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has been criticized for its hardline approach on migrants and refugees, shutting down its border with Serbia and building a razor wire fence to keep out the tens of thousands of people on the move.

The Orban government has enjoyed warm relations with Russia and has sent troops to Iraq to help Kurdish fighters combat IS.

In his appeal for cooperation with Moscow, the foreign minister noted that the year-long US-led coalition campaign against the jihadists had yielded only "limited success."

Russia this week began air strikes in Syria, which it says are targeting IS jihadists. The West says the air strikes are hitting any rebels, including moderates, opposed to Russia's long-standing ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Szijjarto also reiterated Saturday Hungary's call for global quotas to resettle migrants and refugees and said the European Union should pay to maintain and expand refugee camps in Syria's neighboring countries.

Europe's handling of its worst migrant crisis since World War II has come into focus amid an intense diplomatic debate over the way forward to address the crisis in Syria.

Four million Syrians have been driven from their homes in the four-year civil war that has killed more than 240,000 people, and many thousands have sought to reach Europe by land and sea to rebuild their lives.

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