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Hungarian Companies Stimulating Development in Kuwait

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.07.04.
L-R: Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó received his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in Budapest on Monday, and recalled that it has been nine years since a Kuwaiti Foreign Minister visited Hungary. The two sides discussed the war in Ukraine, the global threat of terrorism, migration, and Hungarian-Kuwaiti cooperation.

At a joint press conference, the Hungarian Minister said that the two countries share a similar view on the war in Ukraine. He emphasized that both countries are committed to defending the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, based on their respective histories, while believing in a peaceful solution.

Péter Szijjártó warned that even in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, it should not be forgotten that the world is also facing another extremely difficult security challenge: the most serious global terrorist threat ever. “The Islamic State has still not been defeated, and if you look at Afghanistan, Africa, there are an increasing number of places and continents where terrorism is rearing its head,” he underlined.

The Minister also pointed out that

terrorism is one of the main drivers of migration, together forming a vicious circle, as the threat of terrorism leads to migratory flows, which in turn facilitate the undetected movement of terrorists from one part of the world to another.

“That is why we attach great importance to the global fight against terrorism and we thank Kuwait for taking a leading role in this fight, as one of the leaders of the global coalition against the Islamic State is Kuwait,” he emphasized.

Szijjártó also pointed out that there was a need for closer cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf region, which would be mutually beneficial. Therefore, he said, Hungary is committed to arguing for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to be granted Schengen visa-free travel and to conclude an agreement on free trade as soon as possible.

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Finally, he noted that expert negotiations on the investment protection treaty are nearing completion, the next meeting of the Joint Economic Committee has been convened for September, and

a direct flight between Budapest and Kuwait City could be established next summer, further increasing the tourist traffic that has been growing for years.

The Foreign Minister also noted that in the current crisis situation, it would be important to develop energy cooperation. In this context, he underlined that the Kuwaiti authorities are examining a chemical solution from Hungarian oil and gas company MOL to maintain the extraction of oil from depleting oil fields in an environmentally friendly and economical way.

In addition, a successor to Hungary’s Ganz is responsible for a significant part of the maintenance of the high-voltage electricity network in the Middle East country,

he highlighted.

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At the press conference, the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister recalled that next year will mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, for which preparations are already underway. He said that the aim is to raise relations with Hungary to the highest possible level.

On terrorism, he highlighted that Kuwait had been fighting it for years and underlined the important role played by the country in repatriating some of the families of terrorists to their country of origin for rehabilitation programs.

Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also met with Minister of Economic Development, Márton Nagy, during his visit to Hungary. At the meeting, Márton Nagy underlined that trade turnover reached 33 million dollars in 2022, showing great room for further progress:

beyond the development of energy relations, strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the fields of agriculture, and food and that pharmaceuticals could be a way forward.

Nagy added that Kuwait aims to become a financial, commercial, and cultural center by 2035. It is in Hungary’s interest to participate in this process and Hungarian businesses should be able to actively take part in this transformation.

Featured photo via MTI/Máthé Zoltán

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