Talks between Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban were held at the latter’s residence, the Carmelite Cloister.
[V. Orban] Of course, there is political cooperation between our two countries. From the Hungarian side, this cooperation is based on a very simple geographical fact: no country can change its house number, as all countries are located where God created them. For Hungary, this means that we are inside the Moscow-Berlin-Istanbul triangle. We have lived here for 1,100 years, and we live here now.
Hungary’s policy is to get every country in the world interested in Hungary’s success, particularly the countries which play a decisive part for us from a regional point of view. Cooperation between Hungary and the Russian Federation fits this description.
Of course, Hungary is a NATO and EU member, and it will stay there. However, this does not rule out the possibility of cooperation with Russia on the political level too. We are seeking it now and will seek it in the future.
Our political cooperation has many important areas. Today we will also meet with the hierarchs of Christian churches in the Middle East, because protecting Christian values is important for us. It is a continuation of the traditions started by Saint Stephen, the first King of Hungary.
We have such a historical and political experience that if relations between Western and Eastern Europe are tense, Hungary always loses, but if these relations are good, then Hungary stands to gain. Therefore, we are interested (and will be interested in the future) in seeing the best possible relations between Western entities and the Russian Federation.
[V. V. Putin]
Our cultural and humanitarian ties have reached a high level. On November 26, Days of Russian Spiritual Culture will begin in Hungary and, we hope, will attract the attention of the Hungarian public. We are also grateful to our friends for their contribution to the restoration of Orthodox churches in the country, in particular, the Dormition Cathedral in Budapest and the churches in Tokaj and Miskolc.
We touched upon various international and regional matters during the talks. In particular, we exchanged opinions on prospects for normalising relations between Russia and the European Union. We also discussed the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. This primarily concerns energy routes and Russian fuel and energy supplies for Hungary and our main consumers in Europe. We informed the Prime Minister of Russia’s efforts to facilitate the resolution of the Syrian conflict. We will have another opportunity, and we will discuss this matter once again at a meeting with the heads of churches.
The work of the Constitutional Committee will facilitate the political resolution of the Syrian crisis. Russia made a major contribution to establishing the Constitutional Committee, together with its partners from Turkey and Iran. As you may know, the Committee’s members gathered for their first meeting in Geneva several hours ago.
Within the Committee, Syrian Government and the opposition, as well as representatives of Syrian civil society, will be able to work directly and without external interference on a constitutional reform, national state building tasks and the country’s sustained development. I believe that this is also important for Hungary, in the context of migration processes, and for Europe in general.
The agenda of our talks with Mr Orban also included a discussion of the position of Christian communities living in the Middle East and North Africa. We will also review this subject in greater detail right after this press conference at a meeting with heads of the region’s Christian churches. This meeting was organised at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Hungary, and I would like to thank him for this.
I would like to note that Russia is ready to collaborate with Hungary and other parties concerned for the purpose of supporting Christians in conflict-ridden areas of the Middle East and North Africa. We consider it unacceptable that representatives of any denomination are persecuted for their religious beliefs.
[V. Orban] […] I believe that it would not be an exaggeration to say that the previous government of Ukraine had conducted an anti-Hungarian policy.
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the deadline for Hungary to join TurkStream, as far as I know (the Prime Minister will correct me if I am wrong), Hungary is very interested in this project from the point of view of ensuring its energy security and increasing its role in Europe’s energy sector in general. Hungary is more than welcome to join TurkStream.
The TurkStream project will be completed by the end of this year. We have already finished the Black Sea part, and we will soon be done in Turkey. By the end of next year (approximately), we will have completed work in conjunction with our Bulgarian and Serbian partners. It is only 15 kilometres across Hungary.
In fact, we can coordinate it with our colleagues, begin this work early next year and finish it quickly enough if Hungary is interested. As far as we understand, the answer is positive.
Finally, Denmark. Indeed, when we came here we found out that the Danish authorities issued a permit to conduct work in their exclusive economic zone. We welcome this decision. Denmark has shown itself as a responsible participant when it comes to international communications, which upholds its interests and sovereignty, as well as the interests of its key partners in Europe, who are strongly interested in diversifying supplies of Russian hydrocarbons to the European market.
Viktor Orban: So, as far as we are concerned, I can say that it is not so difficult to understand Hungarians. You know that in our policy we have always put a strong emphasis on sovereignty. For Hungarians the most important things have always been independence and preservation of sovereignty, and how we can maintain full sovereignty.
This issue also has a Serbian aspect because Serbia is Hungary’s reliable partner and has always received the gas it needs. But I know that sovereignty is very important not only for us but for Serbia as well. They want to receive gas not only via our territory but from other routes as well.
What does all this mean? It means that we will have losses, transit losses. Nevertheless, if we want others to consider our interests and benefits, we must also respect the interests and benefits of others. Therefore, I am happy that the Serbs will be able to import gas not only through our territory but also through other routes. This is our position. I would like to repeat that in the past few years we have managed to diversify our energy sources.
Orlov la MK (13:10).