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SZIJJÁRTÓ: EUROPE-C ASIA COOPERATION VALUABLE AMID WAR SITUATION

 

Cooperation between Europe and Central Asia is all the more valuable amid the current situation connected with the war in Ukraine, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, said after meeting the new head of the Organisation of Turkic States on Friday. Hungary’s participation in the work of the organisation helps it to sustain its economic growth, the minister said at a joint press conference held with the organisation’s secretary general, Kubanychbek Omuraliev. East-West cooperation has faced serious difficulties owing to the war in Ukraine, and in some areas it has seized up altogether, Szijjártó said. Hungary, given its geographical location, is affected more than others, taking into consideration that its economy has traditionally benefited highly from Europe-Asia cooperation. Hungary, he added, did not want a new Cold War or a new Iron Curtain, or a fissure between East and West. The minister said new transport routes and partnerships may arise from connections between Europe and Central Asia which sustain elements of the existing economic model and East-West cooperation. Hungary has benefited as an observer in the Organisation of Turkic States, he said, noting that Hungary has joined the organisation’s connectivity platform for expanding transport links throughout Eurasia, which can bypass routes that are now blocked owing to the war in Ukraine. East-West trade, meanwhile, can benefit from reduced red tape, infrastructure developments, and digital technologies promoted by the organisation, he said. The minister also noted that the organisation’s Drought Prevention Institute will be set up in Budapest, tapping the knowledge and technology of world-class Hungarian engineering in the area of water management. Hungary is also joining the organisation’s investment fund, Szijjártó said, adding that “in today’s challenging international environment, investments are vitally important for sustaining economic growth.” The minister noted that each year 650 students from countries belonging to the Organisation of Turkic States attend Hungarian higher education institutions with scholarships, and many of them also study here at their own expense. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received Omuraliev later in the day, and was quoted by his press chief as saying that “at times of danger, it is especially important to have as many allies and partners in the world as possible.” Referring to Hungary’s Eastern Opening strategy at the talks, Orbán said “we want to make everyone interested in making Hungary a successful and safe country”. Omuraliev is on a working visit in Hungary, as part of a tour of Turkic countries to have talks on the future and activities of his organisation.