Donor conference in Brussels – Hungary to open EUR 5m preferential credit line for Afghanistan
Brussels, October 5 (MTI) – Hungary will open a 5 million euro preferential long-term credit line with a low interest rate to support Afghanistan, the foreign minister announced on the sidelines of an international donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
The loan will support projects for upgrading Afghanistan’s infrastructure, institutions and technology, Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian reporters.
It will set as criteria that development projects be carried out with the inclusion of Hungarian firms and Afghanistan fulfilling obligations undertaken in international agreements and in pacts concluded with the EU on controlling migration, he said.
He said that there are currently 101 Hungarian troops serving in Afghanistan and noted the Hungarian government’s recent decision to provide an annual 500,000 euros to support the training and operation of that country’s national, security and defence forces up until 2020.
This all shows the Hungarian government’s commitment to the continued support of efforts aimed at settling the situation in Afghanistan, Szijjártó said.
Regarding migration, Szijjártó noted that last year 46,670 Afghan nationals applied for asylum in Hungary, the second largest number. Their number this year has totalled 10,097 so far, he added.
Concerning the conference, Szijjártó said that participants had decided to increase international efforts aimed at creating peace and stability in Afghanistan. Participants had made offerings adding up to 4 billion euros to help development in that country, Szijjártó said.
Participants also agreed that Afghanistan should take more efficient action in preventing migration and administering migrant procedures, Szijjarto said. He added that Afghanistan should implement reforms as a result of which “fewer and fewer people will wish to leave the country”.
Szijjártó also held talks with his Georgian, Uzbek, Tajik, Albanian and Bulgarian counterparts.
He said Georgia should have been granted visa-free status by the EU “long ago”, adding that Hungary considers any attempt to block that country’s visa waiver harmful.
Szijjártó said he had discussed with his Uzbek and Tajik counterparts potential cooperation in the two important areas of water management and Hungary’s exports of farming technologies to those countries.
Concerning his talks with Albania’s foreign minister, Szijjártó noted that the European Commission is close to issuing a proposal regarding Albania’s EU accession talks and stated Hungary’s support to launching the talks as soon as possible. He also noted the launching of a direct flight between Budapest and Tirana next spring.
Szijjártó and his Bulgarian counterpart discussed Bulgaria’s nomination of EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva as its candidate for the position of UN Secretary-General and agreed that the next UN chief should come from eastern Europe.