Hungarian Ambassador about Georgian-Hungarian Relations
09 May, 2013
Hungarian Ambassador about Georgian-Hungarian Relations
Sandor Szabo talks about forthcoming visit of Georgian FM to Hungary

On April 29, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze held a press conference as part of the ‘Georgian Government for Open Governance’ Project, where she informed the assembled journalists about Georgia’s foreign policy priorities , about Foreign Ministry’s work over the past six months and about its future plans. While answering the questions, particular emphasis was placed on the need for active work within the framework of international organizations on regional
issues and on relations with neighboring countries as well as with the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America; and more generally - on the need to expand the area of Georgia’s diplomatic presence abroad. We met with Mr. Sandor Szabo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Hungary to Georgia, who talks with Georgian Journal prior to Maia Panjikidze’s official visit to Hungary that is scheduled on May 13-14.

G.J: Almost 7 months have passed since the new government of Georgia took its office last October. How do you evaluate their work so far?
S.S: The beginning is very good. It is my personal as well as official evaluation on the part of Hungary. We can prove this by facts. I will talk only about our two countries. The facts concern some meetings between the interlocutors and partners. Last November, our Minister of Interior visited Georgia. It was an official visit, during which he met with Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, his Georgian colleague; the sides signed two agreements: one of them was an intergovernmental agreement on Cooperation on Prevention of crime and Fight against it; the second document is the Protocol on Implementation of Readmission Agreement between UN and Georgia; it is an inter- ministerial agreement. On April 3-4, it was followed by the visit of Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania to Hungary. The defense ministers of our countries signed an agreement on the cooperation in the field of defense.
G.J: What can you say about the forthcoming visit of Maia Panjikidze to Hungary?
S.S: The third element, which proves that both sides – Hungary and Georgia - want to accelerate the bilateral relations, is that on May 13-14, your Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze will lead the Georgian delegation to Hungary. The main issue of this official visit is to express the intention to develop further the bilateral relations; plus, expression on the part of Hungary the support for Georgia’s EU-Atlantic and European integration, particularly before the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit. The Hungarian side will do its best to contribute to the initialization of the Association Agreement (including DCFTA) between EU and Georgia and we would like to express our support for that. The same goes for the NATO, as it was said in Bucharest in 2008 that Georgia would become the member of the NATO. We would like to express our support for this so that this process is continued. Georgian aspiration to the NATO will be welcomed. It is not clear yet what kind of concrete measures will be taken but the Hungarian side backs the process. The second element of the visit is very important and crucial – it is the field of economy, trade and investment. The Foreign Minister of Georgia and the State Secretary on Foreign Policy and Foreign Trade of Hungarian PM Office will sign a bilateral agreement on economic cooperation, which is very important and after having this agreement, the two sides can get ready to establishing the joint economic commission. If it is achieved, the first meeting may take place in Budapest and they will decide in what concrete fields they can cooperate – agriculture, civil engineering, tourism, etc.
During this visit, the sides will sign the bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism as well, from which we expect increase of the number of tourists to each country.
G.J: Can we say that we are making a new step of bilateral relations?
S.S: I believe it will be a new quality of relations. Now, the next step is how to turn these good political relations into good economic ones, which is very important. Along the official meetings, the Foreign Minister of Georgia will deliver a lecture at the Hungarian Foreign Policy Institute about Georgian Foreign Policy and I hope it will arouse a high interest. She will meet the MPs, who are members of the Hungarian-Georgian Friendship Group. We hope the program in our beautiful capital Budapest will be loaded with different events and the visit of the Foreign Minister of Georgia to Hungary will prove to be successful and interesting at the same time.
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