“It is in Central Europe’s clear interests for East and West to be on good terms; an opportunity must be provided for rational dialogue and for Eurasian economic cooperation”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday in Budapest following talks with his Kyrgyzstani counterpart, Chingiz Aydarbekov.

At the press conference following the talks, Mr. Szijjártó stressed that both countries are active participants in China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI), which is currently the world’s largest economic development programme, and one of the most important guarantors of free trade. “Because it is pointless to talk about global free trade without infrastructure, and the Chinese imitative strives to create precisely this condition”, he added.

The Minister pointed out that last year Hungary received observer status in the Council of Turkic Speaking States, the European representation of which will be established in Budapest in the near future. “Thanks to this, in the Hungarian capital the opportunity will be created for the establishment of new economic, commercial, cultural and education cooperation with Turkey and the countries of Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan”, he explained.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, Hungary’s economic interests in Kyrgyzstan are clearly recognisable. The Minister told the press that 90 percent of Hungary’s exports, which exceed 10 million dollars, are provided by the pharmaceutical industry, in addition to which the country is also counting on Hungarian enterprises to play a part with relation to water management technologies. He also reported on the fact that a 30-million-dollar credit line has been opened at Eximbank to provide the financial background for cooperation between enterprises from the two countries, in addition to which negotiations are continuously ongoing on an investment protection agreement and a treaty on avoiding double taxation.

Mr. Szijjártó also told reporters that Hungary is supporting Kyrgyzstan’s application for membership of the UN Security Council, with relation to which he stressed that, being in the vicinity of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan is playing an important role in the fight against terrorism. “This is particularly important for Europe, because curbing terrorism and extremist ideologies in this region also contributes to the continent’s security”, he pointed out.

Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Chingiz Aydarbekov also expressed his satisfaction concerning the development of relations between the two countries, adding that it is most welcome that Hungary’s has appeared in the Council of Turkic Speaking States as an observer. He stressed that Kyrgyzstan could primarily appear on the Hungarian market with its outstanding bio- and organic products, but the Kyrgyz government also trusts in the deepening of cultural relations. In reply to a question from Hungarian news agency MTI, Mr. Aydarbekov said Kyrgyzstan is fully behind the European Union’s new Central Asia strategy.