Budapest, December 9 (MTI) – Hungary will step up its diplomatic efforts in the Western Balkans as it lies in its political, economic and strategic interests for peace and stability to prevail in that region, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci in Budapest on Wednesday.

As the migrant wave hitting the EU generated sharp tensions in the Western Balkans and the Islamic State terrorist organisation attributes key importance to the region in spreading its influence to Europe, making decisions on the stability of the region is a more pressing task than ever, he said.

Szijjarto noted Hungary’s immense contribution to the stabilisation and security of the region, adding that the largest Hungarian military contingent stationed abroad was serving in Kosovo as part of NATO’s KFOR mission.

Hungary supports boosting cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo as an important criterion of stability in the Western Balkans, Szijjarto said, adding that Hungary also supports speeding up the Euro-Atlantic integration of both countries.

Hungary also advocates lifting the EU visa regime for Kosovo as soon as possible.

Szijjarto noted that an economic cooperation agreement was concluded between Hungary and Kosovo and the sides also agreed on setting up a joint economic committee tasked with boosting closer cooperation between businesses.

Business cooperation will also be helped with a 61.5 million euro credit line opened by Eximbank, the foreign minister said.

He also noted that Hungary will offer grants to 30 Kosovars to study in Hungary from September next year.

The minister said Kosovo has met all requirements on a visa waiver with the EU and expressed hope to achieve full visa liberalisation next year.

Thaci underlined excellent bilateral relations which he said should be extended from the political and military spheres to the economy, too.

He thanked Hungary for all of its support and hoped for future cooperation.


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