Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto – Photo: Facebook

Szijjarto: Hungary as EU president to cooperate with ASEAN

During its European Union presidency starting on July 1, Hungary will cooperate with Laos, which is currently serving as president of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and will work to strengthen ties between the regions, the foreign minister said in Laos on Friday.
14. June 2024 15:43

Peter Szijjarto told a press conference after talks with his Laotian counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith that the importance of cooperation was clear from the fact that this had been the 15th meeting between the ministers, according to a ministry statement.

As presidents of their respective regional alliances, Hungary and Laos had a duty to stand up for peaceful negotiations and diplomatic solutions, Szijjarto said.

Freezing ties and communication channels was “dangerous and wrong”, Szijjarto said. Security challenges can only be overcome through negotiations, he added.

It is important that the presidents of the EU and ASEAN stand for the same message: that solutions cannot be found on the battlefield but at the negotiating table, he said.

Europe has a vested interest in stronger ties with south-east Asia, as “it needs new momentum and to improve competitiveness”, he said.

Hungary will work to “restart and speed up” the talks on free trade agreements between the EU and Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillippines and Thailand, among other countries, he said.

Meanwhile, Hungarian agricultural and water management companies are extremely successful in Laos, contributing to food safety, the modernisation of agriculture and to drinking water supply, Szijjarto said.

The ministers have signed an agreement on expanding cooperation in water management. The sector greatly contributes to the recent jump of bilateral trade. Hungary is also offering university grants for 150 Laotian university students, he added.

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