OREANDA-NEWS. Economic and education issues were the main topics of discussion at Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó’s bilateral negotiations on Friday.

Mr. Szijjártó held talks with the Foreign Ministers of six countries in New York on Friday. The representatives of Iran, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Turkmenistan and Mongolia all assured him of their country’s support for Hungary’s nomination to the UN Human Rights Council.

Mr. Szijjártó and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif concluded an agreement on tightening cooperation on energy. According to the agreement, Hungary will continue to take part in the training of Iranian nuclear industry professionals, who have otherwise already been studying in Hungary under the “umbrella” of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Foreign Minister told Hungarian news agency MTI that in future Iran could become an important participant in European gas diversification in view of the fact that it will be heavily increasing its natural gas production and as a result could appear on the European market with gas exports. According to Mr. Szijjártó, this would be particularly advantageous from the perspective of Hungary’s gas diversification.

Following his meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Mr. Szijjártó told the press: “Hungary is supporting the commencement of free trade talks between the European Union and Indonesia, because such an agreement would also boost Hungarian-Indonesian trade relations”.

The Minister also pointed out that a few weeks ago the two countries had concluded an aid credit agreement according to which Budapest Waterworks will be constructing 36.5 million dollars worth of waterworks in Indonesia. “This provides a significant boost to bilateral trade cooperation”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister and his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, concluded and agreement on a scholarship programme and agreed on an investment protection contract.

Twenty students from the United Arab Emirates will be attending Hungarian universities from next September and the text of the investment protection agreement was also finalised in New York on Friday, meaning that following EU ratification the two parties should be able to conclude the agreement by the end of the year. Mr. Szijjártó also told the press that the United Arab Emirates would be opening an Embassy in Budapest next year.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama asked for Hungary’s help in the battle against the Boko Haram terrorist organisation, and as Mr. Szijjártó related, they agreed that Hungary would be providing expert assistance to support Nigeria in its endeavours. Mr. Szijjártó also highlighted the importance of Hungarian-Nigerian economic cooperation.

In New York on Friday, the Hungarian Foreign Minister and his Nigerian counterpart also agreed that Hungarian engineers and architects would be involved in the huge, 100 million Dollar project to regulate the Niger River. The related intergovernmental treaty will be signed in November, Mr. Szijjártó told the press. Hungary’s export-import bank will be involved in financing Hungarian enterprises. The Hungarian Foreign Minister also pointed out that education cooperation with Nigeria is also excellent: there are currently 900 Nigerian students studying in Hungary.

Mr. Szijjártó’s talks with Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow centred on sports and tourism issues. The two countries will be signing a cooperation agreement before the end of the year, Mr. Szijjártó told the press. The Hungarian Foreign Minister also told his negotiating partner that Hungary’s Parliament had begun the ratification of the previously signed agreement on avoiding double taxation. The two Ministers reviewed ongoing negotiations between Turkmenistan’s border security forces and a Hungarian company on shipping border protection technologies. Mr. Szijjártó also felt it important to stress that in future Turkmenistan could also play an important role in European energy diversification in view of the fact that there is a good chance that gas from Turkmenistan will also be arriving in Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor in the near future.

Mr. Szijjártó closed his series of bilateral negotiations in New York on Friday with a meeting with Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsendiin Munh-Orgil, with whom he reviewed the recently concluded 25-million Dollar loan program which is helping Hungarian companies construct a biotechnology plant in Mongolia. “Education cooperation with Mongolia is also developing well; 87 scholarship students from Mongolia began their studies at Hungarian universities this September”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.