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There is “great anticipation” in the Middle East and north Africa in connection with Hungary’s rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, Péter Szijjártó, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Facebook on Monday. “This is what I was able to conclude today when I spoke on the phone with Ayman Safadi, my Jordanian counterpart, and Badr Abdelatty, my Egyptian counterpart, both of whom congratulated me on Hungary assuming the EU presidency and wished [Hungary] success,” Szijjártó said. “We greatly appreciate Egypt and Jordan for their contributions to the stability of their respective regions and for keeping illegal migration at bay, with which they contribute to Europe’s security,” Szijjártó said.
He said that because both countries bore “serious burdens” in the fight against illegal migration, they both deserved EU support, adding that this was the position Hungary would represent at next week’s meeting of the Jordan-EU Association Council. “At the same time, we urge that Egypt receive the next sum of development aid from the European Union as soon as possible,” he said. Szijjártó said hundreds of students from both Jordan and Egypt study at Hungarian universities, and economic cooperation was continuously developing with both countries. He added that Hungary would strengthen its cooperation with the countries of the Middle East and north Africa during its EU presidency.