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Orbán meets Putin

Russia and Hungary discussed Surgutneftegas's stake in Hungarian oil and gas group MOL on Tuesday and expect to hold more talks, Dmitry Peskov told Reuters after Vladimir Putin met his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orbán, in Moscow.

The issue of MOL has tainted relations since Surgutneftegas, Russia's fourth-biggest oil producer, bought a 21% stake in MOL in a €1.4 billion deal last year, which both MOL and the then Hungarian government considered an unfriendly approach. Surgut has said it wished to be a strategic investor, but MOL has said that having the 21% stake in Hungarian hands would create what they called a more stable situation.
    The Russian Prime Minister expressed his hopes that the European Union will keep cooperating with Russia under Hungary’s presidency. The talks are also needed to support the investment flows, he noted. The mutual investments are almost balanced – wwuth about $2 billion of Hungarian investments in Russia and $3 billion of Russian investments in Hungary, Putin pointed out. For his part, Orbán said that Hungary is interested in a long-term relationship with Russia.
    Although none of the information has been officially confirmed, business daily Napi Gazdaság reported on Tuesday before the talks that Orbán would offer Russia the option to build a $4 billion commerce hub in Hungary in exchange for Surgutneftegaz’s stake and also offer Russian companies the chance to take part in the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant and may sell stakes in natural gas storage facilities to Russia. (BBJ)