Szijjarto: Cooperation between Hungary, Armenia relaunched after ten-year hiatus
At a joint press conference with Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, Peter Szijjarto said that the current meeting had “put an end to a long ordeal” involving ten years without diplomatic ties between the two countries. Last year, the sides decided to normalise relations and build cooperation that serves both countries’ interests, he added.
Christianity was a great help, with both Hungary and Armenia having a long-standing Christian heritage, he said. The Christian church in Armenia played an important role in rebuilding ties, he added.
“We naturally tried to demonstrate our goodwill earlier, too, and held talks with our friends in Azerbaijan which enabled us to transport home five Armenian prisoners of war at the end of 2021,” he said.
Additionally, the government provided 116 million forints (EUR 300,000) to families moving from the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia and offered 100,000 vaccines to help protection during the coronavirus pandemic, Szijjarto said.
Hungary remains committed to rebuilding ties and is now providing 40 million forints support to families moving away from Nagorno-Karabakh, also contributing to their medical services and offering summer camps to their children next year, he said.
A cooperation agreement in higher education will enable 30 Armenians to study in Hungarian universities with scholarship annually, he said.
He noted that budget support in Hungary for the Armenian ethnic minority has been increased by four-fold in the past 13 years.
Szijjarto added that he had asked his counterpart to approve the setting up of a Hungarian consular service in Yerevan.
He said the Hungarian government will encourage low-cost airline WizzAir to add Budapest to the list of nine destinations in seven countries it flies to from Yerevan.
He also said the Caucasus was a very important region for Europe, partly because they are neighbours and also because the region can help the continent overcome energy supply problems, offering realistic opportunities to acquire new energy resources.
“We Hungarians wish that Azerbaijan and Armenia would sign a peace agreement as soon as possible, which could then guarantee that the peoples in this region can live in peace with the coming years and decades dedicated to calm economic development,” he added.