“The importance of operation between Hungary and Cyprus is gaining importance in view of the fact that, as the debates on the future of the European Union become increasingly intense, cooperation between countries that insist on their national identity, historic traditions and Christian cultural heritage, are becoming increasingly important”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Thursday following talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

Mr. Szijjártó stressed that both Hungary and Cyprus are such countries, and accordingly they are representing a common and congruent position on most issues relating to the future of the EU, and believe that Europe and the EU can only be strong if it is made up of strong countries and strong member states. The two foreign ministers also discussed the importance of protecting minority rights throughout Europe, and agreed that this is a question of international law, which everyone must respect.

DownloadPhoto: Mitko Sztojcsev/Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

According to Mr. Szijjártó, in future Cyprus could also play an important role in establishing energy security in view of the fact that extremely rich natural gas deposits have been found around the island. The extraction of this gas and its shipment to Europe could create a new situation with relation to the region’s energy security. Mr. Szijjártó and his Cypriot counterpart agreed on the conclusion of an energy cooperation agreement, the preparations for which will be completed before the end of this year. “We wish to cooperate in the interests of assuring that the gas field near Cyprus is extracted, and part of that gas reaches Central Europe, if possible via  a pipeline, in view of the fact that liquid natural gas capacities in the region remain extremely modest”, the Minister said.

In view of the fact that cooperation between the two countries is becoming increasingly important, the two ministers decided that Hungary will be opening a consulate in Nicosia before the end of the year. Until now, Hungary’s diplomatic representation in Cyprus has been provided by the Hungarian Embassy in Athens. Mr. Szijjártó and Mr. Christodoulides also agreed to engage in tighter cooperation on the various forums of the United Nations. Hungary is supporting Cyprus’s nomination for membership of the International Maritime Organisation, while Cyprus will be supporting Hungary’s application for membership of the International Telecommunications Union council.

“Trade flow between the two countries has increased by 43 percent so far this year, and tourism cooperation is also producing dynamically increasing numbers. The development of water-related relations will be a particularly opportune area of bilateral cooperation in view of the fact that, because of its climate and geography, water scarcity is becoming an increasingly regular phenomenon in Cyprus. There is great demand for the technologies offered by Hungarian water management companies, and the Hungarian Government is helping Hungarian enterprises to achieve success on the Cypriot market”, Mr. Szijjártó said.