Hungary will open a 5 million euro preferential long-term credit line with a low interest rate to support Afghanistan, the Foreign Minister announced on the sidelines of an international donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday. The loan will support projects for upgrading Afghanistan’s infrastructure, institutions and technology, Péter Szijjártó told reporters. The loan is Hungary’s contribution to a $15 billion international support offered by 70 governments, including the United States and EU member states. Kabul is required to sign up to a host of political, economic and social reforms in return for the money.
The Hungarian support will set as criteria that development projects be carried out with the inclusion of Hungarian firms and Afghanistan fulfilling obligations undertaken in international agreements and in pacts concluded with the EU on controlling migration, he said. He said that there are currently 101 Hungarian troops serving in Afghanistan and noted the Hungarian government’s recent decision to provide an annual 500,000 euros to support the training and operation of that country’s national, security and defence forces up until 2020. This all shows the Hungarian government’s commitment to the continued support of efforts aimed at settling the situation in Afghanistan, Szijjártó said.
Regarding migration, Szijjártó noted that last year 46,670 Afghan nationals applied for asylum in Hungary, the second largest number. Their number this year has totalled 10,097 so far, he added. Concerning the conference, Szijjártó said that participants had decided to increase international efforts aimed at creating peace and stability in Afghanistan. Participants had made offerings adding up to 4 billion euros to help development in that country, Szijjártó said. Participants also agreed that Afghanistan should take more efficient action in preventing migration and administering migrant procedures, Szijjártó said. He added that Afghanistan should implement reforms as a result of which “fewer and fewer people will wish to leave the country”.
During his visit to Brussels, the Hungarian Foreign Minister also held talks with his Georgian, Uzbek, Tajik, Albanian and Bulgarian counterparts. Péter Szijjártó said Georgia should have been granted visa-free status by the EU “long ago”, adding that Hungary considers any attempt to block that country’s visa waiver harmful.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI