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Kurdistan and Hungary Seek to Strengthen Relations

SAT, 16 NOV 2013 13:12 | KRG Cabinet

Budapest, Hungary (Krg.org) – The State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Mr. Zsolt Nemeth, today received the Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa to discuss a number of issues including ways to further enhance mutual relations. The meeting was also attended by the Hungarian Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Tibor Szatmari.

Minister Mustafa arrived in Budapest on Thursday to conduct a number of meetings with Hungarian government officials as well as to deliver a lecture at the Corvinus University in Budapest. 

During the meeting both sides underlined the importance of strengthening political, economic, cultural, and educational ties. Minister Mustafa briefed the Hungarian side on the latest political developments in Kurdistan including the recently held parliamentary elections which took place on 21 September of this year.

Mr Nemeth commended the political and economic developments of the Kurdistan Region and expressed Hungary’s desire to strengthen ties with Kurdistan across a broad range of areas. “We place great value on opening our General Consulate in the Kurdistan Region because it is a safe and stable area and provides a healthy environment for investment,” Mr Nemeth said.

Minister Mustafa emphasized Kurdistan Regional Government’s desire to establish ties with the international community and expressed the full readiness of the KRG in expediting the opening of the Hungarian Consulate General in Erbil. He also touched upon the importance of establishing diplomatic presence in Erbil, saying that it would open more doors for the involvement of Hungarian companies in the economic development of Kurdistan Region. Minister Mustafa emphasized the importance of building bridges and partnerships with the international community.

Minister Mustafa said: “It is time to build upon the visit of President Barzani to Hungary last year. We see Hungary as a friend and partner of the Kurdistan Region.”

The two sides also talked about the situation of Syrian refugees in Kurdistan Region. Mr Nemeth praised KRG’s efforts in sheltering and providing humanitarian aid for refugees and expressed the readiness of Hungarian government to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan Region.

Minister Mustafa met with several other officials, including the Deputy State Secretary for Global Affairs of Hungary, Mr. Peter Wintermantel.

Both sides discussed areas of cooperation between the two sides, in particular economic, educational, and political. Minister Mustafa discussed the current relations between Erbil and Baghdad and highlighted the importance of Iraq’s parliamentary elections scheduled for April of next year.

Mr Wintermantel reiterated the willingness of Hungary to further strengthen and broaden its relations with the Kurdistan Region and congratulated Kurdistan Region on successful completion of its recent parliamentary election.

Minister Mustafa touched upon the rich economic opportunities the Kurdistan Region has to offer and expressed the readiness of Kurdistan Region to welcome the contribution of Hungarian businesses to the economic development of the Region.

This meeting was also attended by Mr Geza Mihalyi, Director General for Middle East and Africa Department of Foreign Ministry of Hungary and Mr Tibor Tamari, the Hungarian Ambassador to Iraq.

In both meetings, Minister Mustafa spoke of the atrocities committed against the people of Kurdistan Region in Iraq and encouraged Hungary to recognize the crimes against Kurdish people in Iraq as an act of genocide.

As part of his visit to Hungary, Minister Mustafa delivered a lecture at the Corvinus University in Budapest. The Rector of the University, professors, faculty members and a large number of students attended the lecture. He spoke of the history of Kurdish Region, political developments in the Region, KRG’s relations with Baghdad and the neighboring countries, and the achievements of Kurdistan Region and its future vision.

The Rector of the Corvinus University thanked Minister Mustafa for his lecture and expressed the desire of his university to launch educational ties with the universities of Kurdistan Region.

Minister Mustafa concluded his visit by attending the graduation ceremony of 13 Kurdish junior diplomats upon their successful completion of a two-week training course on diplomacy at the Corvinus University. The training course was organized in cooperation between the DFR, the Embassy of Hungary in Baghdad, and the Hungarian oil company, MOL. The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Geza Mihalyi, Director General for Middle East and Africa Department of Foreign Ministry of Hungary, Mr. Tibor Tamari, the Hungarian Ambassador to Iraq, Vice Rector of Corvinus University, Dr. Laszlo Palkovics, Representatives of MOL Company, instructors, and trainees.