Hungary must remain up and running, including diplomacy and external relations
29. 09. 2020.
Hungary must remain up and running, including diplomacy and external relations, guests are coming here and “we too are visiting countries that are important for us,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Tuesday in Budapest after he had talks with President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

The Prime Minister said the two countries agreed to set up a Hungarian-Kyrgyz development fund worth fifty million US dollars. The fund is designed to finance cooperation between the two countries, in particular joint ventures, and should it be exhausted, the parties are ready to raise the available funds.

The Prime Minister also reported that distance is “the greatest obstacle to better exploring in daily life the common origins and friendship between the two nations,” and therefore there is a need for a direct air service between Budapest and Bishkek whose legal and financial conditions are already in place. It is to be hoped that flights could start soon.

Mr Orbán observed that they originally expected the Kyrgyz President in April, but his visit was frustrated by the coronavirus epidemic at the time. He recalled that during the first phase of the epidemic, Hungary effectively put life on hold as we were up against an unknown enemy. In the present second wave, however, there is a different defence strategy under the motto ‘Hungary must remain up and running’.

The Prime Minister also informed members of the public that at present Hungary provides 75 state scholarships for Kyrgyz students; they will raise this number to 150. They further agreed that Hungary would be allowed to implement investments in certain sectors in Kyrgyzstan.

Mr Orbán added that so far Hungarian-Kyrgyz relations have been an abandoned area in Hungary’s system of external relations, but the present visit will finally provide content for these relations. On behalf of his government, Mr Orbán expressed his appreciation for Kyrgyzstan and the cultural achievements of the Central Asian country.

It was especially pleasing, the Prime Minister continued, that during our talks the Kyrgyz President made it clear that in his country people are aware that “at one point in time, a long time ago, the Kyrgyz and Hungarians were part of the same people”. However, the fates of the two countries were intertwined not only in the distant past, but also in the more recent past because when in Hungary communism was toppled, Soviet troops were forced to leave and the Soviet Union disintegrated, “it took this entire process for Kyrgyzstan to finally regain its independence,” Mr Orbán said.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov stressed that Hungarian-Kyrgyz relations are developing dynamically in the spirit of mutual respect. He highlighted that today is an historic day because they signed a great many important agreements, as a result of which the two nations could open a new chapter in the building of bilateral relations.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov said thank you to the Hungarian government and people for the assistance they provided in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic. He recalled that also when in 2018 Mr Orbán paid a visit to Kyrgyzstan, they conducted very useful talks, and several of the issues discussed at the time have since come to fruition, including the setting up of an intergovernmental committee.

The Kyrgyz President welcomed the fact that the Hungarian government has raised the number of Hungarian scholarships provided for Kyrgyz students to 150. He also highlighted the importance of the development fund regarding which they now signed an agreement. It is to be hoped that the fund could start its operation before the end of this year, he added.

He said a business forum will also be held later, to be attended by 50 members of the Kyrgyz business community who are interested in the opportunities inherent in cooperation with Hungary.

Before the press statements, the Hungarian and Kyrgyz parties signed 13 agreements, including agreements on strategic partnership, international road passenger transport and cargo haulage, cooperation in health care, agriculture, between the two countries’ finance ministries, in disaster management, water management, education and science, the avoidance of double taxation, a Hungarian-Kyrgyz development fund, the digitisation of the economy and the promotion of investments.