Budapest, August 18 (MTI) – Hungary and New Zealand are tightly bound by the fight against terrorism, Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said after talks with his New Zealand counterpart, Murray McCully, on Thursday.
Forcing back the Islamic State terrorist organisation is a common interest as “we Europeans are well aware that the more ISIS is pressed back, the lighter the immigration pressure on the continent,” Szijjártó said in Tapolca, in western Hungary.
He said Hungary and New Zealand have made similar contributions to the fight against terrorism, each being present with around 150 soldiers in Iraq, where they offer training to the Iraqi army and the Kurdish forces.
Szijjártó noted that Hungary supported New Zealand’s quest to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and will back its council presidency in September, too.
The two ministers agreed that New Zealand will support Hungary’s bid for membership of the UN Human Rights Council in the autumn vote in New York.
Hungary was last a member in the UN’s most important human rights body between 2009 and 2012, and it is applying again to have a seat in 2017-2019, he said.
Commenting on economic cooperation, Szijjártó said Hungary is a dedicated supporter of the free-trade agreement between the EU and New Zealand, but “we will insist on taking into consideration Hungary’s agricultural sensitivities”.
Trade between the two countries increased by an annual 10 percent in the Jan-May period this year, and it is expected to reach 50 million dollars by year-end, he said.
New Zealand is a gate to strengthening cooperation with the Pacific Ocean region, which is why Hungary has opened an embassy in New Zealand and a foreign-trade diplomat is starting work in Wellington, he said.
Szijjarto said talks have started on an agreement to prevent double taxation and consultations are expected to be completed soon on a cooperation agreement in social security.
A logistics centre in Várpalota, in western Hungary, set up by the AHI Roofing company from New Zealand, is one of the most successful European business investments by a New Zealand company in Europe, he added.
McCully, who was in Tapolca as part of a European round trip, is visiting Budapest on Friday. He said New Zealand greatly appreciated Hungary’s support shown in friendly, economic and trade ties. The recently opened Hungarian foreign representative office in Wellington could further strengthen links between the two countries. He said “we have common values”. Economic relations could be improved through joint efforts, he added.