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Hungary hits out after EU 'ignores its veto' on statement criticising Israel

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Hungary hits out after EU 'ignores its veto' on statement criticising Israel
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The European Union has been accused of ignoring a last-minute veto from Hungary on a recent statement criticising Israel's conduct toward Palestinians at a UN security council meeting.

In the statement, Finland's representative to the UN, Kai Sauer, excluded Hungary as he read out the 27 EU countries that he would be speaking on behalf of.

Citing "serious concerns" over the status of rocky Israel-Palestine relations, Sauer said work towards a peaceful two-state solution was the "key priority" for the 27 EU states.

He then criticised Israel on behalf of the EU over ongoing violence and the continued building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Such trends currently seen are "threatening the viability of the two-state solution, dismantling it piece-by-piece," Sauer said.

In response, Hungary said it was "unacceptable" to read the statement on behalf of the EU without unanimous membership agreement.

Speaking to Euronews, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said: "We made it very clear that we do not agree with the text that was finalised."

Szijjarto then noted that Sauer was correct to only read the names of the 27 EU countries that agreed with the statement but that he was wrong thereafter to refer to the group as the EU.

He then suggested Hungary would take the issue further, by reporting it to the EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini.

According to an EU diplomat quoted in the EU Observer, Hungary vetoed the statement at the very last moment, without providing a reason for why.

But the actions brought into question the EU's role, and whether it should be allowed to speak on behalf of the group as a general — rather than unanimous — consensus.

It comes with relations strained between Brussels and Budapest ahead of European Parliament elections in May.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban have exchanged diplomatic visits in recent years and found common ground over US billionaire George Soros and the threat of radical Islam.