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Szijjártó: Hungary wants closer ties with western Balkans

Int’l Relations

As an acknowledgment of the rise in the global political and economic importance of the western Balkans, Hungary is seeking even closer ties with the countries of the region, Hungary’s Foreign Minsiter Péter Szijjártó said after negotiations with his Macedonian counterpart.

Szijjártó said the cooperation between countries is focused on energy, agriculture and water management. Nikola Poposki said Macedonia appreciates Hungary’s continuous support for Macedonia's accession to the EU and NATO and has voiced its opinion that there is no alternative to euroatlantic integration in connection with the future of western Balkan states.

Bilateral trade between the two countries grew by 20% in the first three quarters of the year, with Hungarian exports exceeding €100 mln by September.

Macedonia would benefit from the Budapest-Belgrade rail upgrade on which Hungary is set to sign a trilateral contract with Serbia and China next week at the China-CEE summit, Poposki said, adding that Macedonia is part of alternative plans for a post-South Stream gas pipeline project aimed at diversifying transport routes.

Poposki said Hungary is regarded as a friendly country with more than 40 bilateral agreements signed to date. The 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations is celebrated this year, he noted. He said investments and agriculture were areas for cooperation and opportunities will be discussed at a meeting of the Hungarian-Macedonian mixed committee next year.

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