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Hungary Gas Supplies Guaranteed for This Year, says Foreign Minister after Russia Meeting

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.18.

Hungary will be able to purchase an additional 2.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Gazprom this year, so the country’s gas supplies are fully guaranteed, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.

A deal for next year already agreed involves Hungary purchasing 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas, Szijjártó said at a joint press conference with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. Talks will begin on increasing this amount to 4.2 billion cubic metres, he added.

Hungary has an interest in purchasing gas from the south, too, via the TurkStream pipeline. This may take place from the end of next year, he said. As a first step, Hungary will start building a 15km stretch of the pipeline connecting the Serbian-Hungarian border to the national grid, he said. This will enable the supply of 6 billion cubic metres of gas in the initial period, he added.

Szijjártó noted that the sides had earlier decided that they would try to minimise the effects of European Union sanctions and Russia’s counter-measures by offering Hungarian government support to Hungarian investments in Russia. He praised Richter Gedeon’s 5 billion forint (EUR 14.3m) development in the Russian market, the construction of a 6 billion forint Hungarian-Russian meat plant and the fact that a Hungarian company participated in the modernisation of Russian poultry farming with 15 billion forints.

Bilateral trade totalled 6.5 billion dollars last year and the earlier negative trend stopped and turned into expansion, he said. He noted that Wednesday’s meeting was held under difficult international circumstances, amid challenges posed by the spread of the new coronavirus. Szijjártó said it was good news that Hungarians wanting to return home from Russia would be able to fly with Aeroflot which was still operating between Budapest and Moscow.

He also expressed satisfaction about two projects supporting Christian communities in Syria representing a total value of 120 million forints.

Szijjártó said that

Hungary traditionally has serious interest in maintaining effective cooperation with Russia based on mutual respect,”

“Exactly the same way as western European countries, except we openly talk about it,” he added.

Being a small central European country, our interest lies in effective cooperation based on mutual respect between the eastern and western sides of Europe”

During his visit in Moscow, Szijjártó also held talks with Nikolay Fyodorov, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council, and the head of the Hungarian-Russian friendship chapter group.

Featured photo by Mátyás Borsos/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade