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Szijjarto: Azerbaijan, CEE countries sign MoU on gas deliveries

Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding on natural gas deliveries to central and eastern Europe through the so-called Solidarity Ring -- a transport route planned for delivering natural gas from Turkey via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Slovakia -- and on improving the region's energy infrastructure, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in Sofia.
25. April 2023 16:13

At the signing ceremony, Szijjarto said Hungary, which has little natural gas of its own, is striving to diversify its energy resources “rather than just changing the geographical direction of the dependence”.

“The best solution to the current energy crisis would be if we could bring more gas into Europe from more sources and via various routes,” he said.

Natural gas from Azerbaijan is the most realistic option for central and eastern Europe, but this will need adequate transport routes, he said.

Organising and preparing infrastructure development should be a task of eastern and south-eastern European governments, while the European Union should play a role in financing the investments, he said.

“The integration of new energy resources is a truly European cause, and so a European duty,” he said.

The region’s countries “would be right to demand” that the EU finally take the issue seriously and support the diversification of gas supplies in central and southern Europe, he said. Failing to do so would further erode the credibility of EU energy policy, he added.

Hungary’s network operator is prepared, and the government is willing to undertake further developments to raise the capacity of the Hungarian stretch of the Solidarity Ring, to transport 5 billion cubic meters of gas a year between Romania and Slovakia, he said.

“We who live in the heart of central Europe can’t purchase significant amounts of gas from Azerbaijan without the Solidarity Ring or without European funding,” he said.

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Rumen Radev of Bulgaria also attended the event, as did energy ministers Parviz Shahbazov of Azerbaijan, Rossen Hristov of Bulgaria and Virgil-Daniel Popescu of Romania, and Slovak economy minister Karel Hirman.

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