FM, Hungarian officials hold talks in Budapest

06-06-2023 09:35 AM

Ammon News -

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi, on Monday, met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto, and President of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Cofer.

Meetings dealt with bilateral relations and regional and international issues.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Safadi highlihted bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields, and affirmed joint keenness to strengthen them bilaterally and within the framework of partnership with the European Union (EU). They also discussed cooperation against regional challenges.

Safadi and his Hungarian counterpart held an expanded talks that focused on increasing cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Safadi and Szijjarto, who visited Jordan three times over the past four years, stressed the importance of bilateral relations and within the EU framework. Hungary is scheduled to take over the six-month presidency in the second half of 2024.

The two ministers discussed the necessary steps to increase cooperation in several vital areas, including economy, investment, defense, education, tourism, agriculture, youth, environmental protection, water, and vocational training.

The meeting covered the ongoing preparations for holding the third session of the Jordanian-Hungarian Joint Economic Committee meetings, in July in Budapest, and a business forum on their sidelines focusing on , food and medical equipment sectors.

The two ministers agreed to hold a round of political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries in implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed in 2008. They also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding for cooperation and exchange of expertise and courses for diplomats between the Jordanian Diplomatic Institute and the Hungarian Diplomatic Academy.

Safadi and Szijjarto signed a cultural cooperation program between the two governments countries for 2024-2027, aimed at strengthening friendship between the two peoples, and promoting cooperation in culture and arts fields.

The two ministers also discussed efforts to resolve crises in the Middle East and the Ukrainian crisis. The regional side of the talks focused on the Palestinian cause, the Syrian crisis and the refugee challenge.

In a joint press conference, Safadi affirmed that contacts between Jordan and Hungary are ongoing, and said, "We have met more than seven times over the past years, and I hope that this visit will be the beginning of more cooperation and coordination between our two countries," pointing out to the visit paid by His Majesty King Abdullah II to Budapest, and the Hungarian President's visit to the Kingdom.

Safadi said that ties between the two countries are solid, and the dialogue he held today with the Hungarian minister reflected the common desire to continue strengthening bilateral relations in various fields.

He pointed out that the talks touched on many steps that can be taken to enhance cooperation between the two countries. "Next month, we are looking forward to the convening of the Jordanian-Hungarian joint economic committee, which will also be accompanied by the private sectors of the two countries to exchange information and ideas on how to increase cooperation in key sectors including water, food security, medical equipment, and others," Safadi said.

Safadi expressed appreciation for grants provided by the Hungarian government to Jordanian students, as there are more than a thousand Jordanian students who are studying in Hungary and benefit from the educational capabilities of the Hungarian educational institutions, and they also represent an investment in human relations between the two countries.

With regard to regional affairs, Safadi said that the Jordanian role has always aimed at resolving regional crises and achieving security, stability and peace, which reflects positively on the entire region. Safadi added, "We live in a region that suffers from many crises, and the Jordanian role has always been and will continue to be a role aimed at resolving regional crises and achieving security, stability and peace, which reflects positively on the entire region."

"Challenges are many, but we can only continue our efforts to stop regional crises, the suffering they cause to their victims, and the dangers they pose to our common security. We are geographically far away, but we live in one neighborhood, and what is happening in our region is reflected in our friends in Europe. What happens in Europe also affects us," Safadi further added.

"We in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan continue to make every effort to solve regional crises, address the consequences of humanitarian, security and political crises, and achieve the security and stability we need so that we can work together to face other challenges, such as the challenges of the environment and climate, water, energy, provide employment opportunities, etc." he noted.

"For us in Jordan, the central cause is the Palestinian cause, and His Majesty the King is leading continuous efforts to stop the deterioration and find a real political horizon that takes us towards resuming serious and effective negotiations that address all final status issues, including Jerusalem, which must be resolved within the framework of direct negotiations and on the basis of international law, which considers East Jerusalem part of the occupied Palestinian territories, until we reach a just and comprehensive peace, which constitutes a strategic need and goal for us in the region and in the world," Safadi underlined.

Safadi said, "Today marks the 56th anniversary of the 1967 war and its resulted occupation, which we firmly believe in Jordan that must end according to the two-state solution so that we can get the peace that the Palestinians need, the Israelis need, and we all need."

He added, "Our position in Jordan is that the two-state solution is the only way to resolve this conflict and achieve a just and comprehensive peace, and we affirm our deep concern about the continued deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the need to stop this deterioration and stop all unilateral steps that undermine the two-state solution, and thus undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace that the region and all its peoples should enjoy."

"Jordan is a country that made peace, calls for peace, and continues to do everything it can to achieve a comprehensive and just peace based on the two-state solution that embodies the independent, sovereign Palestinian state with occupied Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-June 4, 1967 borders, to live in peace and security with Israel, and let us all cooperate in order to perpetuate this peace, face common challenges, and provide a decent and secure life for all the peoples of the region," Safadi stressed.

Safadi indicated that his talks with the Hungarian minister dealt with combating terrorism, and said, "We suffered from terrorism, as did everyone," stressing the commitment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in combating terrorism. He referred to the Aqaba Operation launched by His Majesty the King as a platform that unites all efforts in dealing with all aspects of terrorism and combating it in terms of security, military and ideology.

For his part, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto welcomed Safadi's visit, lauding the strength of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which date back sixty years.

"The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Hungary are two different countries, and they are geographically far from each other in two different regions, but despite all of that, the security risks are similar for the two countries," Szijjarto said, referring to the wars and security crises that the two countries are witnessing.

Szijjarto stressed that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is "a very important player, not only at the regional level, but also at the global level in confronting terrorism, extremism and conflict," expressing appreciation for Jordan's role in this regard, and its role in hosting the refugees it sponsors. He pointed out that had it not been for Jordan's role in that, "all these millions would have set off towards Europe," adding, "We encourage the European Union and international organizations to increase financial support to Jordan in order to support the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to sponsor the hundreds of thousands and millions who reside on its lands."

Szijjarto added, "Large numbers of students come from Jordan, and Hungary offers 400 scholarships annually to Jordan, and this year more than 1,400 Jordanian students applied for Hungarian scholarships. He added, "Hungary is a popular destination for Jordanian students and they love to come to us, and in this way we encourage the revitalization of human relations between the two peoples, and this will eventually and certainly affect economic and political relations in the future well."

Responding to a question, Safadi said, "The Kingdom has strategic partnership with the European Union and with the EU countries of the Union, and we highly appreciate the support they provide to help us do what we can to provide a decent life for the refugees."

He added, "We are the largest refugee-hosting country in relation to the number of the world's population, so while we appreciate this support, we must also point to the fact that this support is declining, not only to refugees and host communities, but also to international organizations concerned with providing support to refugees."

Safadi added that the World Food Program, for example, will reduce the its services to about ten thousand Syrian refugees in Jordan, and the High Commissioner for Refugees has begun to reduce its services as well due to the lack of full financial support. Safadi warned that stopping these two organizations from providing their services will exacerbate the suffering of the refugees, and the host countries.

"We have reached the limit of our ability to tolerate asylum," he added, calling on the international community to take practical steps to provide the necessary support to help host countries provide a decent life for refugees.

"We in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have done everything we can for the refugees to obtain the requirements of a decent life, because these are victims of conflicts and should not be victims of neglect or failure to provide what they deserve of a decent life," Safadi said.

He added, "Investing in refugees is an investment in our common security, because if we give refugees hope, give them education, and make them feel that we stand with them in their suffering, they will be able to contribute to the communities in which they live, an they will be able to rebuild their country when they return to it, but if we abandon them and make them victims of despair, ignorance and deprivation, we will be facing a great challenge in the future."

Safadi added, "In a few days, Brussels will host a conference to support Syria and neighboring countries. We hope that this conference will result in practical steps to channel the necessary support to refugees, relevant international organizations, and host countries, so that we can continue to support our ability to provide them with a decent life and meet their needs."

He pointed out that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) suffers from a severe shortage in funding, which negatively affects its ability to provide vital services to Palestinian refugees, stressing that UNRWA is an organization whose vital and important role in assisting Palestinian refugees cannot be is irreplaceable.

Safadi had discussed with President of the Hungarian Parliament, Laszlo Cofer, bilateral relations, regional issues, and efforts to solve regional crises and achieve security and stability. Safadi expressed appreciation for the role of the Jordanian-Hungarian Parliamentary Friendship Group in enhancing bilateral relations.

During the visit, the Hungarian Diplomatic Academy hosted the foreign minister for a dialogue session, during which he highlighted the Jordanian-Hungarian relations, and a number of regional and international issues, in the presence of a number of Middle East specialized researchers and academics.

Diplomatic relations between Jordan and Hungary date back to 1964, and Jordanian citizens residing in Hungary amount about 2,000, including 1,100 students, and the volume of trade exchange recorded $35 million in 2022.

Over the past years, the two countries signed 26 cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding in political, economic, trade, investment, energy, water, culture, education, youth, health, tourism, agriculture, defence sectors, and visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

About 11,000 Hungarian tourists visited the Kingdom last year, an increase of 58 per cent compared to 2019.

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