Hungary will continue to support Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders as well as the country’s aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration, President János Áder said after talks with his Georgian counterpart in Tbilisi. At a press conference held jointly with Salome Zourabichvili, Áder, who is the first Hungarian president to visit Georgia since 1990, expressed hope that the new European Commission would give momentum to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Concerning bilateral ties, Áder said the two country’s tourism relations were given a significant boost by the launch of a direct flight between Budapest and Tbilisi five years ago, adding that more similar steps should be taken in the future. The president named water management as another area for potential bilateral cooperation, noting that water purification was crucial for Georgia’s industrial development and agriculture. Hungary can also be of help to Georgia when it comes to the utilisation of its thermal water supply, he added. As regards Georgia’s plans to produce electric vehicles, Áder said he saw an opportunity for the country to test its cars at Hungarian tracks in cooperation with China. On the topic of cultural ties, Áder promised to help Georgian artists receive invitations to perform in Hungary.
Zourabichvili said he and Áder had also discussed the situation of Georgia’s Russian-occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions. He said political negotiations needed to take on a different form in order to improve the current situation regarding those territories. He thanked Áder for Hungary’s participation in the European Union’s mission in Georgia tasked with monitoring the border areas of the two regions. Zourabichvili underlined the support his country has received from Hungary in connection with its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Turning to bilateral ties, the president said Georgia was also counting on Hungary’s experience in economic development. He said Georgian students were being given a “huge opportunity” by getting the chance to take part in student exchange programmes in Hungary.