Prime Minister Viktor Orbán travelled to Ashgabat on Thursday morning for an official visit at the invitation of President Serdar Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan.
‘We need energy to come to Europe from Central Asia, and for this, we need new sources, new routes, and new infrastructure,’ Viktor Orbán declared in his press statement in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Friday.
The Prime Minister noted that the relations between Turkmenistan and Hungary are predictable, reliable, and based on mutual respect. ‘Accordingly, we have come here with good intentions and with the plan to broaden and deepen cooperation between the two countries,’ he said. He emphasised that the visit takes place in a very difficult international situation, with the international political landscape being murky. The pandemic has already disrupted international relations, and the Ukrainian-Russian war has further complicated matters, he said. He highlighted that now he is
in a country that, like Hungary, is in favour of peace
and is making efforts to ensure that this conflict is resolved as soon as possible, and peace returns to international diplomacy.
Orbán pointed out that the current situation has disrupted traditional economic relations and may even open up a new era in the global economy. From a European perspective, these changes have valorised the role of the Central Asian region, he stated. He said that the classic East-West transportation and supply routes have been disrupted, so ‘we need to find new routes and new partners.’ The current situation enhances the value of the entire Central Asian region, and there is a good chance of it becoming a bridge between East and West, he emphasised.
Turkmenistan can be a ‘great partner’ for Europe and Hungary in terms of providing a new route and a new source of energy, and thus ‘significantly contribute to the diversification of Hungarian energy supply.’ The Prime Minister explained that this will not be easy because complex infrastructural and transportation issues need to be solved first, matters that are beyond the purview of the two countries. ‘We are interested in the prompt resolution of the open issues surrounding the Caspian Sea,’ he stated.
The PM said the Hungarian government calls on the institutions of the European Union to put into effect the partnership and cooperation agreement signed with Turkmenistan 25 years ago. In such a difficult situation, when Europe is weaning itself off Russian energy sources, it cannot be allowed for a partnership agreement that is of significant economic interest to Europe to remain unsigned, he emphasised.
Viktor Orbán also mentioned that Hungary takes a lion’s share in the pharmaceutical supply to Turkmenistan, and that in the future water industry cooperation may also materialise between the two countries. Among other plans to enhance bilateral relations, the teaching of the Hungarian language will commence Turkmenistan, and more generically, political and economic relations are to be raised to the level that corresponds to the strength and depth of the historical kinship between Turkmenistan and Hungary.