Talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the Palace of Independence on 5 June.
At the meeting the head of state said that Belarus and Hungary should use all opportunities for the expansion of cooperation.
“I want to congratulate you. You are opening old-new routes to the whole world after this terrible, as it seemed, epidemic. I want to thank you for coming to Belarus and opening this route. I think much words are unnecessary right now. We know each other quite well, although not in person. We met at various international forums and conferences several times,” the Belarusian leader said.
He remarked that Hungary is a close country for Belarus. The countries have maintained robust cooperation since Soviet times. “I am well aware of the opportunities, the potential, and the scale of cooperation between the USSR and Hungary in the previous century. This [Hungary] is an advanced country with a huge potential,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state believes that the existing level of trade, economic and political relations between Belarus and Hungary is not commensurate with the potential of the two countries. “The trade turnover of $255 million is not enough for Belarus and Hungary. We need to use all opportunities of Belarus and Hungary for the expansion of trade between the two countries and two powerful economic organizations – the EU on one side and the Eurasian Economic Union on the other side,” he said.
“I want you to know that we are prepared for it. Belarus will be fully committed to all our agreements,” the Belarusian leader concluded.
Viktor Orban thanked the Belarusian head of state for the opportunity to visit Minsk. “I am honored to be the first prime minister of Hungary to make an official visit to your country,” he said.
The head of government also explained the reasons for choosing Belarus as the country to visit after a long hiatus in foreign trips: “When I thought about my foreign trips after the pandemic, mulling over where to go first, I decided to go where we promised to go long time ago. I am happy to be here for many reasons.”
He also recalled his meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko in Istanbul. “We happened to hold talks there. I have pleasant memories of the meeting,” he said.
According to him, there are no unresolved issues between Belarus and Hungary. “There are no political clashes. We do not remember Belarus ever showing a disrespect towards Hungary. Hungary, in turn, have always acknowledged Belarus. All is well in general. But, unfortunately, you are right that we have made very little of it. Our political contacts are not close enough. We do not talk much to each other, and the amount of economic cooperation is also modest," the prime minister said.
Viktor Orban stressed that Belarus is a developed country, especially in industry. He also praised the achievements in culture and sports. “I very much hope that the meeting will be a significant step forward [in the development of relations]. I came here with sincere intention to establish cooperation,” the prime minister.
When summing up the talks with Viktor Orban, Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Viktor Orban for coming to Minsk. “It is a bold step (in this seemingly complicated psychological and medical situation called pandemic) , which allowed you and I to break the so-called international quarantine and revive the format of live communication between European states,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko described the meeting as very constructive. In his words, the meeting demonstrated that Belarus-Hungary cooperation is on the rise. “We openly and thoroughly discussed various topics on the bilateral agenda and the situation in the world. We noted the similarity of views on many topical problems,” the Belarusian leader stated.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, Hungary is the closest partner of Belarus in the European Union. “Hungary understands us and helps advance our relations with the European Union like no one else,” he noted. “The relations improved considerably in the last few years. They became more pragmatic, equal, and, most importantly, productive. Our friends from Budapest and Viktor Orban personally did a lot to accomplish that.”
“Our countries are interested in developing the Eastern Partnership as a creative imitative aimed at economic growth. An initiative that does not infringe upon someone’s interests,” the Belarusian head of state stressed.
He remarked that Hungary also demonstrates a constructive stance within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Belarus’ relations with which are becoming more and more trustful. “Belarus is ready for further advancement of the dialogue in a mutually respectful manner on an equal footing,” the Belarusian leader assured.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that during the meeting the sides exchanged opinions about the resolution of the situation in Ukraine’s east. “The conflict that smolders over there is a destabilizing factor for European security and a challenge for the entire region,” the president stressed.
He added that Belarus and Hungary had agreed to continue interaction within the framework of various multilateral formats. “Hungary is close to us geographically, historically, and culturally,” the head of state said.
The president noted that many Hungarian brands are known well in Belarus. Instructions have been given to make the Made in Belarus brand as popular in Hungary. Economic ties of the two countries develop persistently and demonstrate a large scope.
Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the Belarusian-Hungarian-Swiss project to make Stadler trains as an example of effective cooperation in the manufacturing sector. “We’ve sold Belarus-made trains to Hungary. The first ones of them have already been tested and will be put to use soon. Considering Hungary’s plans to switch to green technologies manufacturing cooperation to make buses, electric buses, and possibly other vehicles and machines looks particularly promising,” the head of state said. He is convinced that all opportunities are available for launching joint major projects, provided there is a mutual interest.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: “Belarus and Hungary confirm they do not tolerate attempts to pressure them from the outside using various pretenses. Our countries have encountered absolutely unprecedented and brazen attempts to counteract the realization of the sovereign right to developing peaceful nuclear programs [Russia is assisting with the construction of two new units of the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary].”
In his words, the countries have agreed they will work together to give adequate but hardline responses. “The Belarusian side will not tolerate attempts of outside parties to influence our energy policy. At the same time we guarantee that this policy will always be geared towards maximum security, openness, and transparency,” the head of state stressed. “Moreover, we will do our utmost to make not only the policy but the new Belarusian nuclear power plant work not only for the benefit of Belarus but for the benefit of all the interested countries.”
The president said Belarus is ready to welcome experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Union, other international bodies so that they would make sure that the Belarusian nuclear power plant threatens neither Belarusians nor their neighbors.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We’ve confirmed the interest in sharing the best practices in the sphere of nuclear energy, the operation of nuclear power plants, safe handling of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.”
In conclusion Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was confident that Belarusian-Hungarian cooperation has a great future across the board.
The Belarusian leader noted: “In order to jointly overcome the challenges our economies face, we should coordinate efforts where it is necessary as much as possible. Today’s constructive and fruitful negotiations reinforced my confidence and the confidence of all Belarusians in it.”