Home Focus PM Orban: Tensions must be reduced to avoid another Cold War

PM Orban: Tensions must be reduced to avoid another Cold War

(Photo: V4 Agency)

By: V4 Agency

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban held a meeting in Moscow. During their discussion, they touched on the two countries’ economic ties, the situation in Ukraine, and the gas supply agreement. between Hungary and Russia.

My visit is also a peace mission – Viktor Orban told members of the press after the marathon meeting. Hungary’s prime minister added that the EU was united, and none of its leaders would like to see a conflict with Russia, something that’s particularly true of Central Europe.

“Whenever there was a conflict between East and West, Central Europe has lost out, so we must reduce the tensions to avoid another Cold War,” – PM Orban said, adding that this makes negotiations and dialogue necessary with Western states. He therefore asked Russia’s President to continue with bilateral diplomatic relations. NATO’s Secretary General had a discussion with Hungary’s premier on Monday evening. During their phone conversation, they examined the security situation that’s evolved along the Russia-Ukraine border and pledged to reduce tensions and resolve disputes through dialogue. Speaking at the press briefing, Mr Orban emphasized that what Hungary can offer in the context of bilateral ties is none other than the Hungarian model. “Hungary has always received due respect from President Putin and we will also give due respect to Russia,” Mr Orban said.

Hungary’s premier described 2021 as the best year in bilateral cooperation between Hungary and Russia, noting that they’ve managed to inoculate some 900,000 Hungarians with Russian vaccines and they also prolonged the gas supply agreement between Hungary and Russia. He said he believes that the two sides can hold talks in merit about increasing gas supplies with an additional one billion cubic metres per year within the framework of their agreement.

“The price of gas and electricity has tripled in households in Western Europe, but not in Hungary. If there is Russian gas, there are utility bill cuts, if there is no Russian gas, there are no utility bill cuts. With today’s agreement, Hungary’s energy supply is finally secure,” Hungary’s PM said. He also stressed that the construction phase of the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant could soon begin, adding that Hungary’s electricity production could be climate-neutral by 2030. Mr Orban also received a promise that more passenger planes would arrive in Budapest, and he described the relationship between the two countries as balanced and very constructive.

At the press conference, Vladimir Putin stressed that Hungary is a key partner in Europe. Bilateral trade turnover has increased to 5.5 billion dollars and the Russian-Hungarian government committee is also a success, the Russian president said, adding that Hungary is a reliable partner for gas transit. Hungary’s national oil company MOL is involved in Russian oil production in several fields and is also building a bitumen production plant, while Rosatom is constructing two nuclear blocks in Hungary. There are also talks of a joint contract for building railway carriages for Egypt, with an additional 700 wagons to be produced.

Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian president said that human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities are being violated in many cases. He said NATO had previously promised not to expand eastward, however, they acted otherwise. The Russian president added that the US is deploying striking capacities to the east, while they are now considering admitting Ukraine into NATO. In Mr Putin’s view, the various actions are primarily targeting Russia, with Ukraine only being used as an instrument.

“Russian concerns have been ignored by the US. Three of Russia’s previously named demands have been rejected by Washington. No one can strengthen their security to the detriment of the security of other countries,” President Putin stressed. He also touched on the fact that Hungary was the first to officially recognise the Sputnik vaccine and that plans for starting its Hungarian production were underway. Moreover, the Sputnik Light vaccine may soon be rolled out in Hungary. In the field of healthcare, Gedeon Richter [Hungarian pharmaceutical company] is working together with several Russian firms and the Hungarian-Russian cultural cooperation program is also in effect until 2024, Mr Putin added.

Alongside PM Viktor Orban, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also attended talks in Moscow, meeting Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. The two foreign ministers adopted a seven-point action plan concerning cooperation in food production, energy, space research and health, among other fields, FM Szijjarto has said. He added that “the European continent and the world will be facing challenges in healthcare and energy supply in the coming period. Last year, cooperation between Hungary and Russia helped us a great deal to provide good responses to both the health crisis and the energy crisis, and this cooperation will remain in Hungary’s interest in the future,” Hungary’s minister for foreign affairs and trade stated.

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