Azerbaijan, Hungary to expand cooperation
By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan and Hungary developed a package of draft intergovernmental agreements on bilateral cooperation.
The news was announced by Hungarian ambassador to Azerbaijan Zsolt Csutora on September 17.
Intergovernmental agreement drafts in areas such as tourism, education, information technology, sport, youth policy, and air traffic are prepared and planned to be signed in the near future, he told Trend.
Csutora also stressed the successful development of relations between Azerbaijan and Hungary.
The two countries established successful cooperation in the political sphere, and he believes that economic cooperation will also continue.
"There is huge potential for the development of trade and economic cooperation. Hungarian companies consider the Azerbaijani market as an alternative to the Russian market, on the background of the certain EU sanctions. Our companies are ready to enter the Azerbaijani market with high-quality Hungarian food products, including cheese, cold meat, and canned products, in which Azerbaijan has a lot of interest," the ambassador said.
The governments of both countries have expressed interest in increasing bilateral trade, which is currently not meeting the existing potential, he added. "There is good potential to be used."
"Good cooperation within the framework of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation is established, and we are in constant contact with the co-chairman of the Azerbaijani side - Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev.
"To enhance cooperation in autumn, we are planning to hold a business forum in Budapest, where business people from both countries will be able to discuss the possibilities of cooperation," he stressed.
Csutora said another potential area of cooperation in Azerbaijan in which the Hungarian companies are willing to work is road infrastructure.
"There are favorable opportunities for cooperation in the field of water management. Hungary intends to build a reservoir in Azerbaijan, as well as an intellectual center for water management," he added.
Hungary is also a good platform for Azerbaijani investors, the ambassador said.
"There are good opportunities for investment in the Hungarian economy, particularly in constructions and real estate, which has an attractive price now," he said.
Csutora also pointed out that Azerbaijan and Hungary can sign a new agreement on air services under which the flights of Hungarian WizzAir Airlines aircrafts to Baku will be extended.
WizzAir has operated in Azerbaijan for more than a year, and aircrafts fly on the Baku-Budapest-Baku route twice a week. The deadline for the memorandum of cooperation which was signed by the civil aviation administrations of the two countries is on October 26. The first term of the memorandum expired on April 8, 2014, after which it was extended for another three months. Later, the Hungarian party appealed to the government of Azerbaijan for extending the flights of the company's aircrafts.
An Azerbaijani delegation will visit Budapest next week to agree on the content of a new agreement. Following the initialing, the agreement will be signed during the visit of the Azerbaijani delegation to Hungary, the diplomat said.
He added that Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) is also planning to establish air service on the Baku-Budapest-Baku route and the details will be known once negotiations in Budapest come to an end.
Airbus aircrafts of Hungarian Airlines currently fly from Budapest to Baku on Mondays and Fridays and from Baku to Budapest on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The embassy also plans to extend the work of the consular department due to the influx of tourists in the fall, Csutora said.
By late autumn, the Consular Section of the Hungarian Embassy in Azerbaijan will hand over the procedure of passport admission to a visa center, run by a Hungarian company. This will greatly facilitate the procedure of obtaining Hungarian visas for Azerbaijani citizens.
Csutora also highlighted the good relations between Hungary and Azerbaijan in the humanitarian sphere, saying, "This year, the Hungarian government has allocated 200 seats to Azerbaijani students in its universities, along with scholarships and free accommodations in hostels. Two years ago, only two Azerbaijani students were studying in Hungarian universities; the number of students reached 28 last year, and the embassy has already issued 50 student visas in 2014," he said.
The ambassador said the Faculty of the Hungarian language and a professor from Hungary started operating at the Azerbaijan's Languages University in September 15.
"The University awarded me with an honorary doctorate diploma on September 9, and it's an honor. Earlier, President of the European Union Herman Van Rompuy, President of Israel Shimon Peres, and other prominent political and public figures were awarded with this Honorary Doctorate Diploma of the Languages University. The awarding of the Hungarian Ambassador with this diploma is the highest mark of the relations of the two countries," Csutora said.
He said the Institute of the Hungarian culture, which will promote Hungarian culture in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani culture in Hungary, is planned to open in Baku in the near future.