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Szijjarto: Hungary to open diplomatic mission in Tanzania

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Hungary will open a diplomatic mission in Tanzania with a view to developing cooperation between the two countries, and will work to strengthen ties between the European Union and east Africa during its presidency in the second half of 2024, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

Peter Szijjarto told a press conference after talks with his Tanzanian counterpart, January Yusuf Makamba, in Dar es-Salaam that Africa’s stability was key to Europe’s security. He said Tanzania was “one of the pillars of stability in its region”, as it played an important role in combating terrorism and in providing for refugees.

The security consequences of the migration crisis “are well known by now”, Szijjarto said: “Europe has seen parallel societies emerge and the terror threat increase.”

Migration pressure would be even greater without “countries conducting responsible policies such as Tanzania”. The threat remained, he said, as Africa’s population is set to grow by 750 million in the next 20 years. Unless the situation can be improved by developing education and health care, and by creating jobs, Europe will have to face a dire situation, he said.

Hungary “is supporting African countries with deeds as well as words”, and had invested some 500 million forints (EUR 1.3m) in projects in Tanzania over the past three years, he said.

A government grant programme offering scholarships to 30 Tanzanian students every year is now in its 6th year, he added. The two countries are also running wide-ranging cooperation between its universities and an exchange programme in diplomatic training, he added.

The ministers also signed a framework agreement “allowing certain Hungarian water management companies using cutting-edge technology to contribute to developing Tanzania’s safe drinking water supply”, Szijjarto said, according to a ministry statement.

Szijjarto said last year’s record 7.5 million dollar trade volume between the two countries was a “good starting point . but there’s room for improvement.”

To further improve cooperation, Hungary is planning to open a diplomatic mission in Dar es-Salaam soon, he said.

The last time a Hungarian foreign minister visited Tanzania was 37 years ago, “at a time when the world was divided into two large blocks and maintaining relations was much harder. Unfortunately, international politics seems to be going the same way now, and history is repeating itself.”

Touching on the currently raging wars, Szijjarto said “some reactions of the international community are tantamount to failure”, as they had adopted measures posing serious challenges to many countries worldwide, rather than brokering peace.

He said Hungary was sharply opposing policies leading to new blocks forming in the world, and had a vested interest in connectivity, networks, international cooperation based on mutual respect, and a unified and fair world trade.

Hungary and Tanzania have similar views on a number of matters, he added. “Both countries are extremely sensitive when it comes to matters of sovereignty, are proud of their heritage and culture, resistant to external intervention, and do not allow the mainstream to rule over their internal affairs.”

“We both believe that democracy hinges on the will of the people and the democracy remains democracy, independently from the political persuasion of those in power,” he added.

The democratic qualities of a regime were often questioned in Europe as soon as liberal forces failed to come to power, he said. “Tanzania is a good example of how the pressure of the international liberal mainstream does not limit itself to Europe.”

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, Szijjarto said that as a neighbouring country, Hungary was experiencing the consequences of the war first-hand, adding, at the same time, that its negative effects would be felt worldwide, regardless of geographical distance.

He said Hungary and Tanzania were taking a stand for peace together in international organisations, hoping that the sooner the conflict could be solved through diplomatic means, the fewer people would die and the challenges worldwide would diminish.

 

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