“Central Asia plays a significant role in action against extremist ideologies and terrorists”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared on Monday in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.

According to a recording provided by the Ministry to Hungarian news agency MTI, the Minister highlighted that everything that happens in Central Asia has an immediate effect on Europe from a security perspective, and accordingly these countries must be given support to help them protect their borders and prevent waves of migration and terrorists from setting out for Europe.

“Here, in the neighbourhood of Afghanistan, the countries of Central Asia must play an extremely important role in suppressing radical and extremist ideologies, curbing terrorist organisations, and especially in not allowing the members of terrorist organisations to set out in the direction of Europe illegally”, Mr. Szijjártó stressed.

The Minister underlined that the Central Asian region is also extremely important with relation to Europe’s energy supply. “Energy security and the issue of energy has been an important topic in Europe for a long time; the question of what alternative sources of natural gas are available in addition to Russia”, Mr. Szijjártó explained.

“Unfortunately, in the recent period the majority of diversification efforts have failed, but Turkmenistan is a new opportunity from this perspective. If a 60-kilometre stretch of pipeline connecting the Turkmenistani gas fields and Azerbaijan is successfully constructed, then Turkmenistan’s extremely significant gas assets could also be taken into account with relation to the gas supply of Europe, including Central Europe”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade highlighted.

“The world’s fourth largest source of natural gas assets can be found in Turkmenistan, and the EU has been in negotiation for a long time concerning how the country could be included in Europe’s gas supply”, the Minister pointed out. “It is in Hungary’s extremely important interests for natural gas to arrive in Europe from Turkmenistan via the southern gas corridor, since this would open the opportunity for Hungary to also receive an alternative source of natural gas to Russian gas via the Western Balkans”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised.

The Minister also mentioned that in principle there is agreement between the Turkmenistani and Hungarian governments on how natural gas from Turkmenistan could be included in Europe’s gas supply, the details of which will be discussed by the Hungarian-Turkmenistani Joint Economic Committee in October.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that cooperation with the Central Asian region is extremely important from the perspective of European security, which the EU also recognised when it drew up its Central Asia strategy. “Hungary is a frontrunner with relation to this issue, and we have already hosted a Central Europe - Central Asia meeting in Budpaest last year within the framework of Hungary’s presidency of the Visegrád Group (V4)”, explained the Minister, who is holding negotiations in the Turkmenistani capital.