Hungary and Azerbaijan are in a position to expand their economic cooperation, as part of which the Hungarian government aims to bring Azerbaijani natural gas to Hungary, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Baku on Thursday.
Hungary having access to Azeri gas from the end of next year will be important in terms of the country’s energy security, the foreign ministry cited Szijjártó as saying at a press conference after a meeting of the Hungarian-Azeri economic mixed committee. Hungarian and Azeri businesses have started talks on the gas supply he said.
Szijjártó said his visit to Baku also served to help boost Hungarian-Azeri economic cooperation, which he said was supported by last year’s 28 percent growth in bilateral trade turnover.
Hungarian oil and gas company MOL and drugmaker Richter have also invested heavily in the country,
The Hungarian government is also supporting the participation of Hungarian companies in reconstruction efforts in the Karabakh region, including the upgrade of urban infrastructure, the construction of energy supply infrastructure and the restart of farming activities, Szijjártó said. Hungary’s Eximbank is supporting the reconstruction with a 120 million dollar credit line, he added.
The co-heads of the economic mixed committee on Thursday also signed a declaration of intent on
cooperation in water management and food security and agreed on the instruction of Hungarian language and culture in Azerbaijan.
Afterwards, Sahil Babayev, Azerbaijan’s minister of labour who is the co-head of the committee, was presented with the Medium Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary in recognition of his efforts to boost cooperation between the two countries. In his laudation, Szijjártó said Hungary had learned its lesson from history that central European countries were better off pursuing calm, balanced and civilised cooperation between the East and the West.
“We must build bridges between the East and the West, between our countries,” the minister said. “We must end the era of divisions and embark on the era of cooperation.”
Hungary and Azerbaijan have done a lot to advance East-West cooperation and good bilateral relations have greatly benefitted both countries,
he said. Baku will host a Hungarian-Azeri business forum later in the day which will be attended by representatives from 24 Hungarian firms.