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The European Union should increase its support for Jordan in light of its efforts to help refugees, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Amman. “Unless Jordan successfully handles the challenge of the refugee problem, hundreds of thousands will set off for Europe, creating further tensions,” Szijjártó told a press conference, expressing appreciation for Jordan’s accommodation of refugees from war-stricken neighbouring countries. “We think that aid should be delivered where it is needed. We should ensure that those forced to leave their homes can stay as close as possible and return once the conflict is over,” Szijjártó said. He said the EU should strike a free trade deal with Jordan so that Jordanian goods and services can reach Europe’s markets.

Szijjártó spoke highly of Jordan’s approach to its Christian communities, and said that if all countries in the region treated Christians as Jordan, that region would “certainly be a happier and more secure” place. He noted that the Hungarian government had donated a total 1.3 million euros to Jordan’s Christian communities to make tourism investments and contributed 700,000 euros to the construction of a church by the banks of the river Jordan where Jesus is believed to have been baptised.

Szijjártó noted Hungary’s and Jordan’s joint efforts to fight terrorism with special regard to the fight against the Islamic State organisation. Hungary currently offers an annual 400 scholarships to Jordanian students, the minister said, adding that foreign students graduating from Hungarian universities would be instrumental in building bilateral ties in the future. Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a credit line of 90 million dollars to promote business cooperation with Jordan, especially in the area of water management, the minister said, adding that Hungarian companies in the sector were outstanding.

On another subject, Szijjártó said that the Hungarian government was not planning to relocate the Hungarian embassy from Tel Aviv. Hungary’s position concerning the Middle East peace process is in line with the European Union’s official policy, he said.