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Russian FM pledges to guarantee Hungary’s energy supply

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged to guarantee Hungary's energy supplies, so the delivery of gas, crude oil and nuclear fuel from Russia will be uninterrupted, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with his Russian counterpart in New York on Friday.

Szijjarto met Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. “If other Western politicians did the same, the hope for peace in Ukraine would be greater,” he said, according to the foreign ministry’s statement.

The talks focused mainly on the war in Ukraine, and Szijjarto said he reiterated to Lavrov that Hungary had a vested interest in a swift end to the war. “I told him that we Hungarians were also losing lives in this war, and so we urge an immediate ceasefire and peace talks,” he said.

“My colleague, Sergei Lavrov, also said Russia was ready for peace negotiations. There are obviously a lot of details to clarify. I do hope that at some point, circumstances will make it clear for Russia as well as for Ukraine that they have to seek the solution at the negotiating table,” Szijjarto said.

Another topic of the talks was bilateral energy cooperation, he said. Lavrov said Russia would fulfil its contractual obligations, Szijjarto said.

Russia will deliver the promised amount of natural gas, crude oil and nuclear fuel by the contractual deadlines, “we can rest easy regarding Hungary’s energy supplies”, Szijjarto said.

Regarding the upgrade of Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant led by Russia’s Rosatom, Szijjarto said the construction was on time for the two new blocks to be “hopefully” operational by 2030.

This year, Russia has already delivered 3.3 million tonnes of crude oil and 4.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Hungary, he said.

The ministers said that Russia and Hungary both had an interest in maintaining the operation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as the only remaining forum for East-West dialogue.

Szijjarto said they also touched on the issue of new Russian textbooks. “I told Sergei Lavrov that the 1956 revolution is one of the most uplifting events of Hungarian history when Hungarians turned into heroes as they stood up for the freedom and sovereignty of their homeland … which is why branding those people fascists is unacceptable for us…”

Lavrov assured Szijjarto that the issue would be handled according to President Vladimir Putin’s latest statement, the Hungarian minister said.

Szijjarto and Lavrov also discussed maintaining economic cooperation in sectors not hit by sanctions.

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