“We will be signing important agreements on cooperation with the fields of the economy, social security and sport during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Budapest on 30 October”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Moscow on Wednesday.

Mr. Szijjártó, whose negotiating partners included CEO of Rosatom Alexei Miller, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov, told the press: “We succeeded in identifying joint projects that Russian and Hungarian enterprises can successfully realise on third markets”.

From among these, he highlighted as the most important the joint success on the Egyptian rail tender, as a result of which a Hungarian and a Russian enterprise will be able to jointly ship 1300 railways cars to the Arab country at a total value of over 1 billion dollars. Mr. Szijjártó drew attention to the fact that this is one of the largest international orders in the history of Hungarian vehicle production. The Minister pointed out that the two countries have succeeded in achieving major progress in economic cooperation in fields not affected by the sanctions.

According to Mr. Szijjártó, the European Union’s punitive sanctions against Russia have deprived the Hungarian economy of some 8 billion dollars in export opportunities, adding that it is important that the Hungarian government has facilitated the appearance of Hungarian food, pharmaceutical and healthcare industry enterprises on the Russian market via investment projects in an attempt to counterbalance these losses.

The Minister told the press that he had come to an agreement with the CEO of Russian energy giant Gazprom on the commencement of natural gas shipments to Hungary in April to cover Hungary’s consumption requirements for next winter. “We are currently discussing the increasing of the current quantity to three billion cubic metres”, he stated, pointing out that this is the first time in history that all of Hungary’s natural gas storage facilities are totally full and storing almost 6.5 million cubic metres of gas. “This covers all of our requirements until next winter”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó said cooperation with Rosatom with relation to the Paks Nuclear Power Plant project had reached a milestone: the nuclear power plant’s fundamental design plans have recently been authorised. The Minister said that Rosatom has already shipped the capacities required for the next phase of preparations to Hungary, and accordingly the preparation of construction is moving forward according to schedule. “Accordingly, Hungary will be able to achieve its plan of increasing the ratio of nuclear energy within the country’s electricity supply in the long term. Nuclear energy is a clean, cheap and safe source of electricity that contributes to the competitiveness of the Hungarian economy and also to the reduction of pollutant emissions in Hungary”, he declared.

Mr. Szijjártó also reported on the fact that the protection of Christian communities in the Middle East and opportunities to take future action in the interests of achieving this will be one of the important topics of the upcoming Hungarian-Russian summit. “The leaders of the largest Middle Eastern Christian churches have also been invited to Budapest to coincide with the Russian President’s visit, and will be able to provide first-hand information to the two leaders on their current situation”, the Minister explained.

“It is in Hungary’s interests to also maintain a fair and honest relationship with Russia. It is evident that the leaders of the most influential countries are meeting the Hungarian Prime Minister, inviting him, or visiting Budapest one after the other”, Mr. Szijjártó stated. “This is a confirmation of the achievements we have succeeded in realising. The world is now viewing Viktor Orbán as a Central European leader who it is worth listening to, worth paying attention to, and who it is worth meeting even for the leaders of the world’s most influential countries”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister declared, adding: “The next chapter of this story will be written in Budapest on 30 October”.

He stressed that the Hungarian government is continuing to base all of its foreign policy decisions on the national interest. “This dictates that we must find a common voice with all of the countries around us and who have an effect on global political processes, and develop effective cooperation with them that is based on mutual respect”, the Minister said. Mr. Szijjártó attended a session of the Hungary-Russia Inter-governmental Committee together with the body’s other co-chair, Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)