OREANDA-NEWS. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó took part in a series of seven bilateral talks and meetings in New York on Wednesday.

The Foreign Minister told Hungarian news agency MTI that he had exchanged, concluded agreements and held negotiations on increasing Hungary’s economic presence with his counterparts from El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand and Angola, as well as with the Russian minister of Health and the Foreign Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan. Agreements were also signed on Hungary providing student scholarships.

Mr. Szijjártó concluded a bilateral foreign affairs cooperation agreement with El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Roger Martínez Bonilla, aimed at regular foreign affairs consultations between the two countries and further tightening economic and trade cooperation. Hungary has offered ten scholarship places for El Salvadorian students to attend Hungarian universities. Mr. Szijjártó also told the press: “Sand Salvador and Budapest agree that border defence is the most important issue of sovereignty and since the wave of migration is also causing serious problems in Central America border protection has also gained importance there, and the El Salvadorian Foreign Minister asked Hungary to share its expert knowledge within the framework of the training programme”. Mr. Szijjártó also said that El Salvador will be supporting Hungary’s bid for membership of the Unites nations Human Rights Council. The Foreign Ministers of Angola, Morocco and Kyrgyzstan also assured him of their country’s support for Hungary’s nomination to the Council.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister concluded an education cooperation agreement with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Erlan Abdyldaev according to which Hungary will receive 24 scholarship students every year. Mr. Szijjártó also told the press that Budapest is calling for the establishment of a new, expanded partnership agreement between the European Union and Kyrgyzstan in view of the fact that cooperation between Central Asia and the European Union is of particular importance to Hungary.

“I had a meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar and we agreed that Hungarian enterprises wold also be considered in the large-scale stadium construction programme currently underway in Morocco, including the appearance of Hungarian financing”. Mr. Szijjártó told the press.

During the course of the Foreign Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Kurdish people asked for renewed help in the form of arms to assist in their fight against the Islamic State terrorist organisation. “We will consult with our allies about possible further arms shipments”, Mr Szijjártó said. The Foreign Minister also announced that the Hungarian Interchurch Aid will be opening a humanitarian and development office in Erbil with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The main topic of Mr. Szijjártó meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudvinai was agricultural cooperation, while during his meeting with Angolan Foreign Minister George Chikoti Mr. Szijjártó informed his negotiating partner that Hungary would be reopening its Embassy in Luanda, which was closed 23 years ago. A bilateral economic cooperation agreement will also be signed at the reopening ceremony.

With regard to his meeting with Russian Health Minister and Chairman of the Hungarian-Russian Joint Economic Committee Veronika Igorevna Skvortsova, Mr. Szijjártó said that the parties were searching for forms of cooperation that did not contravene sanction provisions and were at the same time were working to reduce the damage already suffered by Hungary as a result of the sanctions.
On Wednesday evening, Mr. Szijjártó held a lecture on the political challenges facing Europe and Hungary. Present at the meeting were leaders of the Foreign Policy Association and Foreign Press Association, as well as several American foreign policy personalities.

During his speech, Hungary’s chief diplomat stressed: “It is no exaggeration to state that Europe is experiencing its greatest challenge since the Second World War”. According to Mr. Szijjártó, challenges are posed by the war in Ukraine, the migration crisis, the threat of terrorism, energy security and a host of economic challenges that the continent must particularly face following Brexit, adding that it was important whether Europe will be callable of openly discussing these issues. In Mr. Szijjártó’s view, people who speak openly these days face attacks from the political elite ad the press, and Hungary is also a victim of such attacks, “but we Hungarians are freedom fighters”.