Hungary says only EU country will be minister to sign Israel-UAE agreement

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Schizarto attends a news conference on October 8, 2019, at the Itamariti Palace in Brazil. REUTERS / Adriano Machado

Budapest (Reuters) – Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony on Tuesday for the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal in Washington, his spokesman said on Sunday.

“At the invitation of US President Donald Trump, only as European Union Minister, Foreign Minister Peter Sajjijarto will also attend … the signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday,” Met Paczolle told Hungarian news agency MTI.

Under the agreement, Trump helped broker Israel agree to suspend its planned annexation of the occupied territories of the West Bank. The agreement is also in opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States see as the main threat in the conflict-ridden Middle East.

Trump, who is heading into the homestretch of his presidential election campaign, announced the agreement last month. On Friday, he said Bahrain would join the agreement.

Major European powers such as France and the UK welcomed the Israel-UAE deal, as the EU executive said it was good for regional stability.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric and erosion of democratic standards in the media, the judiciary and academics have often criticized in the European Union, was an early and fond supporter of Trump.

“The White House has set the agenda to stabilize the region, the second development to prove it is the best peace plan ever and promise to bring peace to the Middle East,” on Facebook on Saturday wrote.

“The American president thus deserves gratitude,” he said, praising the leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

The minister’s spokesman said Schizarto would also hold talks with Trump’s son-in-law and chief advisor, Jared Kushner.

Reporting by Marten Dunai; Editing by Peter Connie