BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 31. The visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Hungary is the next strategic step of the country's political leadership. Having established itself as a reliable partner in various fields, and in the energy sector in particular, Azerbaijan continues to be in the spotlight in the international arena and becomes an increasingly attractive partner for its European colleagues. In this regard, Hungary is far from the first European country to seek support from Azerbaijan.
The purpose of the visit is to promote the further development of high-level relations between the two countries and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
During an expanded meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban in Budapest President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijani-Hungarian relations already have a good history of mutual support, trust, partnership, and friendship.
"And this is really a big asset. Therefore, now when we explore new areas of cooperation, we already have, how to say, a very solid foundation for our partnership," President Ilham Aliyev said.
Hungary attaches great importance to energy cooperation with Azerbaijan. The country supports the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project and has expressed interest in joining it. The Hungarian side is usually present at annual meetings of the SGC Advisory Council. Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto is expected to attend the annual meeting of the SGC Advisory Council, which will be held in Baku on February 3, 2023.
Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of transport, transit and logistics is successfully developing. To this end, a MoU was signed in 2022 between the Alat Free Economic Zone and the Hungarian Export Promotion Agency. At the same time, the Hungarian Wizz Air low-cost airlines operate direct flights between Baku and Budapest.
Hungarian companies also show great interest in participating in the reconstruction works carried out in the liberated lands of Azerbaijan, and have presented relevant projects in this regard. Hungary has also donated 25,000 euros as a voluntary contribution to support mine clearance activities in the liberated territories.
Moreover, a significant increase in the volume of trade turnover between the two countries in such a short period is a clear confirmation of the high level of cooperation. For instance, in 2021, the total trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Hungary amounted to $35.16 million. In 2022, this figure amounted to $47.4 million, which means an increase of 34.81 percent year-on-year.
During the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Budapest, a number of significant documents aimed at boosting cooperation between the two countries have been signed. Among them are a Declaration on the expansion of the strategic partnership, MoU on cooperation in the field of migration, a MoU on cooperation in the field of natural gas, MoU on cooperation in space studies and space activities for peaceful purposes, as well as a MoU on the establishment of friendly relations and cooperation in the field of culture, tourism, urban planning, science, economy, and other spheres of public life.
The development of cooperation in the energy sector became one of the main topics of discussion during the visit of President Ilham Aliyev. Hungary acknowledges the important role Azerbaijan plays in ensuring the energy security of Europe.
The agreement signed in December last year between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania, according to which the electric cable will be extended under the Black Sea to bring green energy from Azerbaijan to Europe, is another pillar in this broad cooperation.
As President Ilham Aliyev said, making a press statement following the meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, "the recently discovered tremendous green energy potential has also enhanced the importance of Azerbaijan. Of course, projects related to green energy and the already implemented ones will bring us closer to Europe".
The visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Hungary is vivid evidence of the comprehensive and progressive development of the Azerbaijani-Hungarian strategic partnership, which, thus, will open a new page in the relations between the two countries.
This visit shows that Azerbaijan, which, effectively using its economic and geostrategic advantages, has entered a stage of development and has become the leading country in the South Caucasus, thus, attracting more and more partners to cooperate.