Two EU foreign ministers accused of being on holiday like Raab as Kabul fell to Taliban

Hungary’s deputy foreign minister admits he “doesn’t know” where his boss his

Leonie Chao-Fong
Wednesday 18 August 2021 16:40 BST
Dominic Raab was spotted sunning himself on holiday at a five-star resort in Crete, according to reports
Dominic Raab was spotted sunning himself on holiday at a five-star resort in Crete, according to reports (Getty Images)

Two European Union foreign ministers have been accused of going on holiday as Kabul fell into the hands of the Taliban.

Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó is currently “on vacation”, according to his deputy, who admitted on Wednesday that he did not know the whereabouts of his superior.

Levente Magyar, deputy foreign minister, told a local journalist at a press conference: “I don’t know where the minister is. All I know is that he is on leave.”

The journalist added that the minister, Levente Magyar, was not aware of the “exact number” of Hungarian nationals who were stranded in Afghanistan.

Despite previous statements from the Hungarian foreign ministry stating that there were no Hungarian citizens in Afghanistan, it has since been revealed that there are more than 26 Hungarians awaiting evacuation at Kabul airport, Hungary Today reported.

The Hungarian government confirmed on Wednesday that an evacuation operation is underway to bring the remaining Hungarians and Afghans who aided Hungary out of Kabul.

Meanwhile, Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio was spotted sunbathing on a southern Italian beach amid reports that he would not appear before a parliamentary committee on Afghanistan until 24 August, according to an Italian journalist.

Around 50 Italian citizens and 20 Afghans who had worked with Italian forces were evacuated by plane on Sunday night, the Italian foreign ministry confirmed. On Monday, Mr Di Maio said in a radio interview that the flight would be the first of several “in the next few days” to repatriate citizens, the Local Italy reported.

The UK’s foreign secretary was earlier this week accused of “going AWOL” after spending the past week on holiday abroad while the situation in Afghanistan was unravelling.

Dominic Raab was spotted sunning himself on holiday at a five-star resort in Crete, according to the Telegraph. Reports suggested he only left the Greek island on the evening of Sunday 15 August, despite Taliban forces storming the Afghan capital earlier the same day.

Mr Raab later admitted that “in retrospect” he wouldn’t have gone away had he known the “scale of the Taliban takeover”.

An FCDO spokesperson said on Monday: “The foreign secretary is personally overseeing the FCDO response and engaging with international partners. He is returning to the UK today, given the situation.”

However Labour leader Kier Starmer told the House of Commons on Wednesday, in front of Mr Raab, that “you cannot coordinate an international response from the beach”.

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