Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming working visit to Hungary
On August 24, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will travel to Budapest on a working visit at the invitation of Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto. In addition to the talks with his Hungarian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to address a meeting of Hungarian ambassadors and permanent representatives to international organisations.
The intensive and confidential dialogue at the highest and high levels maintained between Russia and Hungary is a reliable guarantee of the progressive development of bilateral relations. Vladimir Putin's last meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban took place on October 30, 2019 in Budapest, and the one before that, on September 18, 2018 in Moscow. Sergey Lavrov previously travelled to Hungary on May 25, 2016. Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto visited Moscow on January 22, 2021; attended the 24th St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June and the International Industrial Trade Fair INNOPROM 2021 in Yekaterinburg in July.
During the upcoming talks, the parties plan to discuss the current state of bilateral ties and the prospects for their expansion, and to outline further steps to build up mutually beneficial cooperation in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Relying on the ongoing constructive bilateral interaction, Russia and Hungary quickly worked out an algorithm for cooperation to supply the Russian two-component vaccine, Sputnik V, to Hungary as soon as possible. The level of the vaccine rollout made it possible for Russia and Hungary to resume regular flights on June 10 and they are now considering the possibility of lifting mutual travel restrictions for all categories of citizens of the two countries.
Russian-Hungarian trade decreased by 25 percent in money terms in 2020 (to $4.75 billion), but gained 35 percent during January-May 2021 (reaching $2.65 billion). Despite the challenging sanitary and epidemiological developments, the two countries still found it possible to sticking to the previously established schedule for the implementation of flagship cooperation projects, the construction of new units for the Paks nuclear power plant, the development of the Hungarian pipeline infrastructure for the subsequent supply of Russian gas from the southward pipelines, as well as the supply of 1,300 passenger railway carriages to Egypt.
The Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority is expected to issue the main licence for the Paks 2 project as soon as next autumn; licences for other projects – the manufacture of the reactor vessel and the melt trap, as well as the construction of seven buildings for the nuclear island – can be issued by the end of 2021.
Our Hungarian partners are interested in the expedient start of Russian gas supplies on the southern track, consistent with the target date, which is October 2021.
Railway carriage deliveries to Egypt have already started under the Russian-Hungarian project for the supply of 1,300 passenger rail carriages; the new rolling stock is being put into operation. As of the beginning of August, 446 carriages have been shipped, of which 47 came from the Hungarian facility.
The parties are confident that Russian-Hungarian trade and economic ties have a solid potential for further qualitative development and intend to make concerted efforts to tap that potential.
The Russian-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is operating effectively and on schedule. Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko was appointed Russian Co-Chair in March 2020; Peter Szijjarto has been Hungarian Co-Chair since October 2014. On November 27, 2020, the commission had its 13th meeting in Budapest. The parties agreed, among other things, to intensify joint COVID-19 response efforts.
Sergey Lavrov and Peter Szijjarto are to discuss a number of current topics on the international agenda such as the rights of national minorities in Ukraine, Russia's relations with NATO, the US and the EU, and the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, etc.
Addressing the meeting of Hungarian ambassadors and permanent representatives to international organisations, Sergey Lavrov will spell out the Russian vision of certain aspects of international relations and the prospects for their further development.
Sergey Lavrov will also lay a wreath at the Soviet war memorial in Szabadsag (Liberty Square) in the centre of the Hungarian capital. There are more than 1,200 Russian military graves in Hungary, where about 200,000 Soviet soldiers killed during the country’s liberation from the Nazis are buried.