“Kuwait is keen on taking relations with Hungary to the next level”

Edited by Anna Popper

Meeting with the Hungarian Foreign Minister

During his European tour, which included France, Italy and Austria, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid an official visit to Hungary, holding meetings and political talks to bolster bilateral ties.

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó met his Kuwaiti counterpart on the 3rd July and discussed vital regional and international issues of common interest such as the war in Ukraine, the global threat of terrorism, migration, and Hungarian-Kuwaiti cooperation in various fields.

At a joint press conference, the Hungarian foreign minister mentioned that it had been nine years since a Kuwaiti foreign minister visited Hungary.

In the course of the press briefing, he also emphasized that the conflict could only be resolved through negotiations and diplomacy. “Given our own history, we, of course, condemn the war. Given our own history, we are, of course, committed to protecting and respecting sovereignty and the principle of territorial integrity. Both countries believe in a peaceful resolution.”

Minister Szijjártó warned that even in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, it should not be forgotten that the world is also facing another extremely serious security challenge: the global threat of terrorism. “Islamic State has yet to be defeated, and if you look at Afghanistan, Africa, there are an increasing number of places and continents where terrorism is rearing its head,” – he said. He also pointed out that terrorism is one of the main causes of migration, together forming a vicious circle as the threat of terrorism leads to migratory flows, which in turn facilitate the undetected movement of terrorists from one part of the world to another. Kuwait is a key ally of the international anti-terrorist coalition and its positive role in combating radicalism was stressed by the Hungarian minister: “That is why we attach great importance to the global fight against terrorism, and we thank Kuwait for taking a leading role in this fight as one of the leaders of the global coalition against the Islamic State.”

He also urged closer cooperation between the European Union and the Gulf region, which would be beneficial for both parties. Therefore, Hungary is committed to advocating that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) member states be exempted from the Schengen visa waiver and that the GCC should sign a free trade agreement as soon as possible. “Until the European Union takes the necessary measures in this regard, we will take all possible steps at the national level.” Hungary applies the principle of the greatest visa preferences to Kuwaiti citizens in the most flexible way, and “we always try to be the fastest in issuing visas in Kuwait City” – he added.

It was also announced that the next meeting of the Joint Economic Committee would take place in September, and the expert negotiations on the investment protection agreement were nearing to an end.

In order to boost tourism, which has been growing for years, a direct flight between Budapest and Kuwait City is to be launched next summer. This comes as part of a Memorandum of Understanding on tourism that has just been signed by the two ministers, in the year when the Hungarian capital, Budapest is celebrating 150th anniversary of its unified existence.

In his remarks at the press conference, the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister stated that Kuwait is keen on taking relations with Hungary to the next level, at a time when the two countries are celebrating 59 years of diplomatic ties. He also expressed his gratitude to Hungary for supporting Kuwait’s Schengen visa exemption file.

Meeting with the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah held a meeting with Mr. László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly to discuss ways to upgrade bilateral ties and expand cooperation in a variety of domains to build a sustainable partnership. The foreign minister spoke highly on the strong relations between the two countries and peoples, stressing their shared belief in universal human values and the importance of peace, stability and dialogue.

Mr Kövér praised the historical ties and friendship between Kuwait and Hungary, as well as the continuous fostering of cooperation, enhancing the collaboration in cultural and legislative areas. They reaffirmed their common interest in taking friendship and bilateral relations to broader horizons.

Meeting with the Hungarian Minister of Economic Development

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met with Mr. Márton Nagy, Minister for Economic Development of Hungary, and discussed Kuwaiti-Hungarian economic relations and fields to further develop their cooperation. In 2022, trade volume between Hungary and the State of Kuwait, the fifth richest country in the world, reached 33 million USD. Both parties agreed that there is great potential and opportunity for expanding cooperation with special regard on the energy sector, agriculture, food and pharmaceutical industries. The ministers also agreed that an active dialogue should be maintained in order to strengthen commercial and economic bonds between the two countries, so that the discussions remain continuous in the future.

Sources: MTI and the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Hungary

Photos: MTI, MoFA Hungary