Cooperation between Hungary and Azerbaijan has been a “real success story” and highly beneficial for both countries, the Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Baku on Thursday.
At a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Péter Szijjártó said bilateral cooperation, built on strong foundations, was entering a “new phase” offering good opportunities to Hungarian firms in reconstruction projects in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The minister noted the Hungarian delegation comprised representatives of 24 Hungarian companies specialising in
transport development, urban infrastructure renewal, building water and energy systems, greenfield farming projects, as well as the reconstruction of religious and cultural shrines.
“We are ready to contribute to the success of reconstruction efforts aimed at improving the life of the much-suffering people of Karabakh,” Szijjártó said. Hungary’s Eximbank is s
upporting the reconstruction with a 120 million US dollar credit line,
he said, adding that further financing could be available if needed.
Szijjártó noted that the Hungarian government is negotiating to purchase natural gas from Azerbaijan from the end of next year, to be shipped through southern Europe. “When looked at from a technical rather than from a political or ideological angle, it will become obvious that the only realistic source from which to diversify Europe’s gas supplies is Azerbaijan’s gas fields,” the minister said.
Szijjártó said the Hungarian government provides an 200 scholarships each year to Azeri students studying at Hungarian universities, adding that this year 704 young Azeris applied for those places.
Bayramov spoke highly of the two countries’ strategic partnership, adding that he hoped ties would be further strengthened. He noted cooperation in the areas of energy, aviation, and higher education, and praised Hungary’s participation in the Turkic Council as an observer.