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Politics Monitor

Orban-Erdogan Energy & NATO Talks

Hungary has still not voted to approve the Nordic country’s entry into the Atlantic Alliance, aligning itself with Turkey, which blocked the file for a long time before lifting its veto in July.

“As in Hungary, the deputies of the Turkish Parliament are on vacation and we can come back to the question during the autumn session,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a video posted on Facebook. “We agreed to keep in touch.”

Energy cooperation

The two countries also discussed strengthening their energy cooperation, as Hungary already receives much of its gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline carrying Russian gas through the Black Sea.

Budapest and Ankara will also deepen their “strategic partnership”, an announcement which must be formalized during a new visit by Recep Tayyip Erdogan scheduled for December 18.

This trip was part of a series of diplomatic meetings organized by Mr. Orban on the occasion of the World Athletics Championships which opened on Saturday and festivities celebrating the founding of the Hungarian state.

Among the other dignitaries received on Sunday, the Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic, the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev, that of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and that of Turkmenistan, one of the most reclusive countries in the world, Serdar Berdymoukhamedov.

Mr. Szijjarto hailed “the close cooperation with Central Asia and the Western Balkans”, crucial to “overcome the consequences of the current crises”, in particular energy.

Serbia has thus promised to “provide the necessary transit capacities” if Ukraine decides to no longer allow Russian gas to pass through its territory to be transported to certain European countries, he said.

An agreement was also signed with Baku, providing for the storage of 50 million cubic meters of gas on Hungarian soil.

East opening

Hungary, the rare country in the European Union (EU) to have maintained ties with the Kremlin since the start of the war, has in recent years pursued a policy of openness to the East, not only towards Russia, but also Central Asia and China.

Viktor Orban, who defends “illiberal” values, was pleased to welcome his “political friends” on this weekend of celebrations, from which his Western partners who regularly accuse him of authoritarian drift are absent.


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