Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán holds talks with Kazakh president

The volume of economic cooperation between Hungary and Kazakhstan has grown considerably and the basis for increasing it significantly in the coming years has now been created, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, after conducting official bilateral talks with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference, Orbán thanked Tokayev for the state award bestowed on him in the spirit of Kazakh-Hungarian friendship, adding that he considered it an honour and that “we will continue to work to promote stable cooperation between the two countries”. Tokayev presented the Hungarian prime minister with the first degree of the Kazakh State Order of Friendship.

Orbán expressed his condolences over the Karaganda mine disaster. “Our thoughts and prayers have been and are with you,” the prime minister said.

Orbán noted that a decision was taken nine years ago to elevate Hungarian-Kazakh relations to a high strategic level and the results were already visible this year and economic cooperation may expand further in the future.

He expressed his gratitude to Tokayev for not only discussing economic issues at the talks, but also global security issues, and noted that the topic would come up again at the 10th summit of the Organization of Turkic States on Friday.

Orbán pointed out that the Hungarians arrived in Europe from the East, and Hungarians believe that life is an alliance between the ancestors, the living and the descendants.

“In this regard, you are part of our lives as you are part of our common past. This is how we always think of Kazakhstan, and we are happy that, in addition to friendship, we now also have economic relations,” he said.

Orbán called Hungary’s energy supply a key issue, adding that it was important that crude oil can now also be delivered from Kazakhstan, and not only from Russia. The extent of this is still relatively low, but the channels have been opened, and this is a big step forward for Hungary’s energy security, he said.

He also expressed his gratitude for the fact that Hungarian oil and gas company MOL can participate in gas extraction in Kazakhstan, that Hungary was involved in the construction of infrastructure for green energy there, and the possibility for cooperation in the nuclear industry.

Orbán added that 250 Kazakh students came to Hungary every year, and around 1,000 Kazakh students are currently studying with Hungarian state scholarships.

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