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Pro-Israel Hungary to send sole European representative for Trump's 'peace' ceremony

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem on February 19, 2019 [ARIEL SCHALIT/AFP via Getty Images]
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem on February 19, 2019 [ARIEL SCHALIT/AFP via Getty Images]

European states have on the whole decided against sending a representative to tomorrow's signing ceremony in Washington to celebrate normalisation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The only country that will be sending a delegation is the right-wing Hungarian government of Victor Orban.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced yesterday that he will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony which has been dismissed as a public relations spectacle designed to boost US President Donald Trump's chances in November's election. The much maligned US commander and chief is currently trailing his rival Joe Biden in opinion polls.

"At the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will also attend … the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday," Mate Paczolay is reported saying in Reuters.

READ: Israel, Bahrain fully normalise diplomatic relations

Szijjarto's announcement underlines the deep relations between Hungary, under Prime Orban, with his US and Israeli counterparts. Both Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are seen as sharing Orban's hostility towards immigrants and disdain for democratic principles.

Szijjarto is one of the few European leaders to offer effusive praise for the Trump-led normalisation deal. "Since the White House prepared the agenda for stabilising the region, this has been the second development to prove that this is the best peace plan thus far and promises to bring peace in the Middle East at last," Szijjarto wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

"The U.S. President thus deserves gratitude," he said, adding praise for Israeli, UAE and Bahraini leaders.

Reuters also confirmed that Szijjarto will also hold talks with Trump's son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner.

American Jews have expressed "horror" over the deep ties between Netanyahu and Orban, who is accused of being an anti-Semite.

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Asia & AmericasBahrainEUEurope & RussiaHungaryInternational OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUAEUS
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