Relations between Hungary and Uzbekistan have “solid foundations” and cooperation between the two countries has “gained good momentum”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Tashkent. Orbán said he arrived in the Uzbek capital with “great hopes and optimism”. He spoke highly of Uzbekistan’s efforts to “use available resources in a modern economy” and called it a “respectable programme”. The prime minister thanked Uzbekistan for its sending hundreds of thousands of face masks to Hungary at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year. “The Hungarians will never forget that,” he said.
Orbán said that Hungarians and Uzbeks “held hands at the right time”, at the start of a new epoch in the global economy, and would use opportunities of a “great transformation” together. He said that “without a flagship of economic cooperation chosen at the beginning, good intentions would get fragmented and evaporate”. He called for “one or two major programmes, and shared ventures to give a clear signal to Hungarian and Uzbek ventures that something serious is in the making and that they can safely sail following the big flagships on calm waters”. He added that “some flagships” had already been identified “to promote the economies of the two countries” and suggested that bilateral cooperation could focus on finance and modernisation of the Uzbek agriculture, as well as nuclear energy and pharmaceutical production.
Despite a shrinking global trade, the bilateral trade turnover has significantly increased, Orbán said, adding that it indicated a potential, which could be further increased through prudent policies.
Concerning Hungary’s taking over the rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group, Orbán asked the Uzbek president to assist promoting cooperation between countries of central Europe and Central Asia. Orbán said he had extended an invitation to the Uzbek president for a visit to Hungary, and added that he would also propose a joint session between the two governments to review the achievements of their cooperation.
Orbán and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a declaration of elevating bilateral ties to the level of strategic partnership. They also signed several other accords aimed at developing ties between the two countries, with special regard to cooperation between the two foreign ministries, as well as cooperation in the areas of labour, nuclear energy training, innovation, culture, and farming, according to Uzbek reports.