Secret of Viktor Orban's Peace Mission

Expert explains how PM Orban has been able to achieve mounting success in a sort period of time.

2024. 07. 11. 12:35
Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington (Photo: Hungarian PM's Press Office/Zoltan Fischer)
VéleményhírlevélJobban mondva - heti véleményhírlevél - ahol a hét kiemelt témáihoz fűzött személyes gondolatok összeérnek, részletek itt.

Many around the world may have been surprised that the prime minister of Hungary holding the rotating presidency of the European Union, first paid a gestural visit to Kyiv, and then traveled to Moscow and Beijing. Then followed his trip to Washington to discuss the issue of peace with Turkiye's president at the NATO summit. But what makes Viktor Orban's diplomatic peace mission so successful, Magyar Nemzet asked Andras Kosztur, senior researcher at the 21st Century Institute. "The West has also realized that, for example, the opinion of the states of the global South can be important in terms of ending the war," the expert said. However, he added, "an approach was used that was aimed at convincing these countries to adopt Kyiv's position, which in this respect, actually coincides with the West's position, so that the Global South could be persuaded to support the Ukrainian peace formula states. That is, the goal was to persuade the states in the Global South to support Ukraine's peace formula."

However, these countries have realized that without Russia's participation it is not really possible to conduct meaningful negotiations, so these attempts to create, so to speak, a unilateral peace coalition  – which would have been a coalition for exercising pressure – in support of Kyiv's peace plan were not successful. This is, in fact, shown by the Swiss peace summit,

the expert pointed out.

ORBÁN Viktor; PUTYIN, Vlagyimir
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (l) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands before their talks in Moscow on July 5, 2024 (Photo: Hungarian PM's Press Office/Vivien Cher Benko)

On the other hand, he stressed, the Hungarian approach is to listen to each of the parties concerned, and to use their views as a basis for hammering out a future compromise. This is the reason why Viktor Orban has visited three countries, Andras Kosztur said. He recalled that China and Brazil have already issued a joint statement proposing the organization of a conference with Russia's participation. The states of the Global South (Latin America, the Arab countries of Africa, Asia, India, and the expert also includes China in the grouping as a power that often acts as a voice for these countries) share a similar position on the issue of war, he added.

He also recalled that Turkiye has also done a lot to broker various agreements between the two sides: the grain deal was in force for a year, and the Istanbul peace deal - often cited by Russian President Vladimir Putin - was underway, but Kyiv eventually backed out.

So, in the end, it is the different approach that can offer scope for this peace mission. Obviously, success can only be interpreted in relative terms at the moment, since we are not much closer to ending the war. However, we must also take into account that a door has been opened to the possibility of negotiations. It is therefore important that pro-peace voices are strengthened to offset those supporting escalation. It is just as important that some sort of mediation and contact between the parties should be established. This is the essence of Hungary's peace mission,

the expert summed up.

Within the Western alliance, Hungary and Turkey are the only two countries that have been able to maintain normalized relations with both sides, and thus can act as mediators,  Andras Kosztur pointed out, noting that there is now a majority of forces in the world calling for an end to the war. This is why it was important and effective to present a pro-peace position in the Far East, for example, the senior expert said. What we see in the Western world, that the majority of leaders would even continue the war, is not so prevalent outside the West, he added. Basically, we know the positions of the parties involved, we know what is officially declared at the moment, but during such a face-to-face meeting it is easier to find out which issues one or the other side may be willing to concede on, and which issues they consider particularly important. However, this actually requires one-on-one communication. And because the stakes are high, given the risk of escalation, it is also important to maintain these communication channels, Andras Kosztur emphasized.

Cover photo: Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington (Photo: Hungarian PM's Press Office/Zoltan Fischer)

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