Hungary vows to protect national interests amid Ukraine grain crisis
Hungary's Foreign Minister puts Kiev's true intentions of reinstating the grain deal into question, saying the country wants to flood central European markets with its grain.
Hungary's Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, has put Kiev's true intentions of reinstating the grain deal into question, saying the country wants to flood central European markets with its grain.
"What Ukraine is complaining about … [is] the non-operation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, that they cannot deliver grain to Africa," Hungray's top diplomat said.
Hungary has played the role of a transit country for Ukrainian grain, however, the country, like other neighbors, complains that Ukraine is flooding its markets with its genetically modified grain, affecting domestic produce.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister told Sputnik that Ukraine seeks to "spread their grain on the market of the central European countries, and we have to protect our national interests."
"We offer a chance for Ukraine to deliver its grain to Africa through ensuring the transit facilities, but the Ukrainians would like to spread their grain on the markets of the central European countries, and we have to protect our national interests," Szijjarto stressed.
The Minister emphasized that the original grain deal did not allow Ukraine to supply Central European markets with its grain, but it ensured that the country could send its grain to Africa through the Black Sea.
His remarks come in the context of Ukrainian threats to sue Budapest and other countries for banning Ukrainian grain imports, to which he said Hungary is ready to defend its national interests should Kiev act on its threats.
Earlier, Ukraine lodged a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization in response to import bans on its food products by multiple Eastern European nations.
"Look, the facts are on our side … The original agreement [with Ukraine] did not say anything about bringing Ukrainian grain to the Central European markets to ruin the markets. The agreement was about ensuring transit, so we're ensuring transit. And if Ukraine decides to sue us, then we are ready to stand up for our own interests and we will enter into this legal dispute," Szijjarto told Sputnik at the sidelines of the United Nations meeting.
When asked if Ukraine's retaliatory ban on imports from Hungary would have an impact, the Minister told Sputnik, "Yeah, of course, but we will help our farmers to find other markets."