Azerbaijan, Hungary building regional influence – leading up to President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Budapest

BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 20. President Ilham
Aliyev’s visit to Hungary marks the country’s next strategic move
in its political leadership. Having solidified its reputation as a
dependable partner across diverse domains, with a notable focus on
the energy sector, Azerbaijan remains a focal point on the global
stage. It’s increasingly garnering interest as an appealing partner
among its European counterparts.

Last visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Hungary, which took
place on January 30, stands as clear proof of the all-encompassing
and forward-moving growth within the strategic partnership between
Azerbaijan and Hungary. As a result, this visit marked the
commencement of a fresh chapter in the relationship between the two

Hungary is an important actor in Europe, and, at the same time,
the country also plays significant role in the work of the
Organization of Turkic States. Hungary holds observer status in the
OTS, and there is a clear line from Budapest to deepen relations
with the Turkic world.

So, this is not surprising that Hungary has invited leaders from
Türkiye, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, as well as former Prime Ministers of the Czech
Republic, Austria, and Slovenia. Even the Head of Russia’s
Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is expected. Undoubtedly, a
significant delegation of leaders from various countries is
arriving in Budapest, not solely for participation in the festive
events dedicated to the country’s national holiday – St. Stephen’s

Azerbaijani-Hungarian relations, in this regard, hold a unique
position. Hungarian officials usually emphasize that these
relations are based on shared culture and history, the legacy of
which is a reliable and strong foundation, independent of the
volatility of politics or economics. Furthermore, the economy also
plays a significant role in these bilateral relations.

It was Azerbaijan that has established the infrastructural
foundation to enable Hungary and other Balkan countries to explore
the possibility of importing Azerbaijani energy resources On April
25, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia signed a
memorandum of understanding regarding the supply of Azerbaijani
natural gas to Central Europe through the so-called Solidarity Ring
(STRING) initiative.

“We will increase the geography of our gas supplies from 6 to at
least 10 countries. I say at least, because I think this is not the
end of the story. We plan to expand furthermore our presence on the
European gas market,” President Ilham Aliyev said during the
signing ceremony for the STRING initiative.

In turn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter
Szijjártó pointed out that supply of Azerbaijani gas is currently
the most effective solution to the energy crisis in Europe.

For Hungary, the security of gas supplies has always been a
matter of critical importance. Meanwhile, for Azerbaijan, supplying
its partners with stable resources has been one of the most
critical issues on the agenda. In this regard, MVM CEEnergy, the
biggest hungarian natural gas wholesale trader, and SOCAR,
Azerbaijan’s state oil company, have signed a sales contract for
100 million cubic meters of gas, the delivery of which will start
in the fourth quarter of 2023. SOCAR has already started injecting
the first 50 million cubic meters of gas into Hungarian storage

Peter Szijjarto said that the two countries have a common
political view that we build it up to a contract reaching one or 2
billion cubic meters annually.

Of course, in regard with energy cooperation between the two
countries, it is worth highlighting the agreement that was signed
in December 2022 involving Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary, and
Romania represents another foundational element within this
extensive collaboration. This agreement entails the extension of an
electric cable beneath the Black Sea, facilitating the transmission
of green energy from Azerbaijan to Europe.

Thanks to brilliantly crafted policy based on national
interests, implemented by President Ilham Aliyev, today, Azerbaijan
participates extensive global projects. The current efforts by
Azerbaijan for Europe have demonstrated the most successful
approach in alleviating the escalating energy crisis in the region.
The consensus on this matter and the interest in collaborating with
Azerbaijan are continuously increasing. By formalizing strategic
partnership agreements or declarations with nine EU member
countries, Azerbaijan has already solidified connections with
one-third of all EU nations. The forward-looking energy strategy
initiated by President Ilham Aliyev, primarily set in motion in
2020 with the commencement of the Southern Gas Corridor, is now
demonstrating itself as not just one of the approaches, but rather
the most effective and appropriate one to assist Europe during
these challenging times.


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