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Paks II construction to start in January

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russian President Vladimir Putin reviewed implementation of earlier agreements at talks in Budapest Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told journalists on the occasion of Putinʼs brief visit for the Judo Worlds, according to state news agency MTI.

Putin visited Budapest on Monday for the opening of the 2017 World Judo Championships, which the Hungarian capital is hosting until September 3. The Russian president also held talks with Orbán, the results of which Szijjártó later summarized by saying that "decisions taken earlier are starting to bear fruit," MTI reported.

The sides confirmed that construction work in the upgrade of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant would start in January next year, 22 months behind schedule, which Szijjártó attributed to drawn-out European Union procedures. They also confirmed that Hungarian businesses would receive contracts worth USD 5 billion of the USD 12 bln project, as agreed earlier, the minister added.

The state of Russia is financing a large part of the construction of two more reactors at Hungaryʼs sole nuclear power plant. Russiaʼs Rosatom is the general contractor for the project.

Putin also confirmed that Russia is working with Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary on pipeline infrastructure that would bring Russian gas to Western Europe partly along the path of the previously scrapped South Stream pipeline, Szijjártó said. The pipelineʼs path will be established by the end of 2019, which the minister said "practically means" that Hungary will have the infrastructure necessary to take delivery of 10 billion cubic meters of gas at its southern border.

Russia dropped plans to build the South Stream pipeline in 2014 because of opposition in Europe. The pipeline would have delivered Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine.

Putin has invited Orbán to attend next yearʼs FIFA World Cup of football in Russia, Szijjártó said, adding that the prime minister has accepted the invitation.