In her address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Hungarian President Katalin Novak lamented that “war is raging on the European continent once again” thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
She said stopping the war should be the UN’s “most urgent priority”, but sounded pessimistic that the relevant diplomatic processes were up to the task.
Novak has declared her admiration for the recently departed Queen Elizabeth II of England, and has twice quoted her at length. She said the Queen’s life was “overwhelmed in the service of peace,” and said world leaders “owe it to the people and their memory to make our decisions in the same spirit.”
Novak noted that she was herself a wife, mother of three and the first female president of a country that had suffered under “45 years of a communist dictatorship,” so she felt a natural sympathy for the Queen’s rejection of wars of conquest.
“We’ve learned that war is evil, and it leads nowhere,” she said.
“Russia’s war against Ukraine is a constant threat and security risk, not only for the Ukrainians living in the war zone, but for all of us,” the Hungarian president said.
“Hungary strongly condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which destroyed peace in Europe,” she declared.
Novak called for full investigations into alleged war crimes against civilians “in the strongest possible terms,” and vowed that “no crimes committed can go unpunished.”
There was a quiet gloom and irony about Novak’s brief remarks, calling peace and justice the highest goals, but setting low expectations for the United Nations to achieve them.
Novak noted that the United Nations is currently tracking 27 conflicts around the world, and “at the moment there is not a single conflict that is being described as ‘improving’.”
Organizations created to avoid war and maintain peace focus on ideological indoctrination. She declared that this is not what we need today.
“Instead, we should restore our ability to distinguish between the essential and the irrelevant, the important and the unimportant, reality and fiction,” she said.