Close, mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia is in Hungary’s interest, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with Sergey Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, in Budapest, adding that “our friends and allies hold the same position but they will not speak about it so openly”.
Cooperation with Russia has produced “practical and pragmatic” results, “despite a not too supportive international environment”, Szijjártó said. The minister pointed to the “extraordinary health and economic challenges” of recent months as well as the “humanitarian and security impacts of clearly ill-advised geopolitical decisions” and called for switching to “civilised international cooperation based on mutual respect”. All through history “Hungary has always been better off when there was civilised cooperation between East and West rather than conflict”, he said. Szijjártó said Hungary had “benefitted a lot” from its relations with Russia, and cited joint Covid vaccination efforts as an example. He said that Hungary would not have been in a position to complete “Europe’s most successful vaccination drive” without the Russian Sputnik vaccine. He added that talks on producing Sputnik in Debrecen from the end of next year were “in an advanced stage”.
He mentioned mutual investments as further areas of cooperation, the production of railway carriages, as well as energy security.