Illustration - Photo: IAEA

Hungary, Uzbekistan cooperation may include energy

Hungary and Uzbekistan have both profited greatly from their friendship, and are ready to expand cooperation further, including to the energy sector, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Tashkent on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Hungarian-Uzbek mixed economic committee, Peter Szijjarto said bilateral trade surpassed 100 million euros last year and Hungarian companies were preparing investments in Uzbekistan.

The two countries are also ready to triple their joint investment fund to 150 million dollars to ensure support for every project, Szijjarto said, according to a ministry statement.

Szijjarto said cooperation was expected to expand in future to the energy sector. Uzbekistan’s electricity demand is expected to double by 2030. “Realistically, producing large quantities of cheap, sustainable and safe energy is only possible through nuclear energy,” he said, adding that Hungary was supporting Uzbekistan’s nuclear programme, and the training of Uzbek experts has already started there.

The two countries have also agreed Uzbekistan would use Hungarian cooling technology should the country sign a contract on the construction of a new nuclear plant with Russia’s Rosatom, he said.

Szijjarto said Hungary’s friendly relations with Central Asia went back as far as 2010. Then, the country had faced criticism from several Western countries “who have since changed their tune as it turned out that the region is rich in rare earths, and that there is a need for new transport routes between East and West,” Szijjarto said.

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