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SZIJJÁRTÓ: HUNGARY SUPPORTS AFRICAN COUNTRIES WITH DEEDS, WORDS

 

Hungary “is supporting African countries with deeds as well as words”, and had invested some 500 million forints (EUR 1.3m) in projects in Tanzania over the past three years, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said, after meeting his Tanzanian counterpart in Dar es-Salaam. A government grant programme offering scholarships to 30 Tanzanian students every year is now in its 6th year, he added. The two countries are also running wide-ranging cooperation between its universities and an exchange programme in diplomatic training, he added. The ministers also signed a framework agreement “allowing certain Hungarian water management companies using cutting-edge technology to contribute to developing Tanzania’s safe drinking water supply”, Szijjártó said, according to a ministry statement. He said last year’s record 7.5 million dollar trade volume between the two countries was a “good starting point … but there’s room for improvement.” To further improve cooperation, Hungary is planning to open a diplomatic mission in Dar es-Salaam soon, he said. The last time a Hungarian foreign minister visited Tanzania was 37 years ago, “at a time when the world was divided into two large blocks and maintaining relations was much harder… Unfortunately, international politics seems to be going the same way now, and history is repeating itself.”
Touching on the currently raging wars, Szijjártó said “some reactions of the international community are tantamount to failure”, as they had adopted measures posing serious challenges to many countries worldwide, rather than brokering peace. He said Hungary was sharply opposing policies leading to new blocks forming in the world, and had a vested interest in connectivity, networks, international cooperation based on mutual respect, and a unified and fair world trade. Hungary and Tanzania have similar views on a number of matters, he added. “Both countries are extremely sensitive when it comes to matters of sovereignty, are proud of their heritage and culture, resistant to external intervention, and do not allow the mainstream to rule over their internal affairs.” “We both believe that democracy hinges on the will of the people and the democracy remains democracy, independently from the political persuasion of those in power,” he added. The democratic qualities of a regime were often questioned in Europe as soon as liberal forces failed to come to power, he said. “Tanzania is a good example of how the pressure of the international liberal mainstream does not limit itself to Europe.” Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Szijjártó said that as a neighbouring country, Hungary was experiencing the consequences of the war first-hand, adding, at the same time, that its negative effects would be felt worldwide, regardless of geographical distance. He said Hungary and Tanzania were taking a stand for peace together in international organisations, hoping that the sooner the conflict could be solved through diplomatic means, the fewer people would die and the challenges worldwide would diminish.