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Szijjarto: Russian energy deliveries on time

Hungary's energy supplies are safe, with natural gas reserves at 62 percent of the annual demand, as Russian suppliers are committed to fulfilling their contractual obligations, the minister of foreign affairs and trade said in Moscow on Friday.

Peter Szijjarto said it was “natural” that he attended the Russian Energy Week forum and was holding talks on future cooperation in energy supplies, as fulfilling Hungary’s energy demand “remains physically impossible without Russian resources”.

Ensuring energy supplies is not a political issue but that of resources and delivery routes, he said. “We can’t heat with press conferences and thunderous declarations or political statements.”

Hungary also needs Russian technology and fuel for its nuclear industry, he said.

So far, Hungary has received all natural gas, crude oil and nuclear fuel contracted with Russian companies, he said.

Crude deliveries are uninterrupted through Ukraine, Szijjarto said, expressing hope that the route wouldn’t be “ruined through financial, political or physical means”.

While Hungary has already stored 62 percent of its annual demand in natural gas, the EU average of reserves is 29 percent, he said.

At the same time, “attempts are ongoing to make Hungarian-Russian cooperation impossible,” Szijjarto warned.

Szijjarto insisted that one of those attempts was a Bulgarian draft legislation that would drastically raise the transit fees on Russian gas and would cease deliveries should payments fall out.

He called the Bulgarian legislation “unacceptable”. “For one European Union member state to endanger another’s gas supplies clearly runs afoul of European regulations and solidarity,” he said.

Szijjarto said he was in talks with Bulgaria and Serbia on preventing that Bulgarian laws should pose difficulties for Hungary and Serbia.

On another topic, the minister welcomed that construction work had started on Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant expansion.

International cooperation remains broad in the nuclear industry, he said. A US company is working on the plant upgrade besides others. Also, “in the first half of this year, the US bought a record 416 tonnes of Uranium from Russia,” he said.

The Paks upgrade has gained new momentum as international cooperation started there, “so connecting the two new blocks to the electric grid in the beginning of the next decade remains a realistic goal,” the foreign minister said.

“Hungary maintains its sensible politics, where representing national interests and the security of energy supplies are the only priority,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Szijjarto met Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Denis Manturov and Alexander Novak, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Oleg Matytsin, the minister of sports.

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