“In view of the fact that Bosnia-Hercegovina plays an extremely important role in the stability of the Western Balkan region, it is also in Hungary’s national security interests for Bosnia to make progress with regard to its EU and NATO integration”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTI during an informal meeting of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers in Austria on Tuesday.

Mr. Szijjártó held several bilateral talks on the sidelines of the meeting, including with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia-Hercegovina Igor Crnadak, with whom he discussed the country’s European Union and NATO integration processes.

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The Hungarian Foreign Minister told MTI: “Hungary is in favour of Bosnia-Hercegovina submitting the replies requested by the European Union to Brussels by this September, because then it will receive candidate status for membership of the European Union during the first quarter of next year”.

“Since Bosnia is one of the most significant non-member contributors to NATO combat operations, we believe they deserve to move forward in the NATO integration process”, Mr. Szijjártó added. He stressed, however, that Hungary supports the activation of the action plan for Bosnia-Hercegovina’s NATO membership at the earliest opportunity, which requires the implementation of a few changes to Bosnian law.

On Tuesday, Mr. Szijjártó will also be holding bilateral talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Erlan Abdyldaev, with whom he will be signing a cooperation agreement on the setting up of a joint economic committee between the two countries.

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According to the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Eximbank has opened a 34 million euro credit line to support the activities of Hungarian enterprises on the Kyrgyz market. “One of the most important goals of the current Hungarian presidency of the Visegrád Group (V4) is to develop cooperation between Central Europe and Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is playing an important role in this, and the country has assured us of its full support with regard to the issue”, he added.