A high level Hungarian delegation headed by Mr István Mikola, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, arrived in Erbil yesterday to officially open the Consulate General of Hungary and to discuss bilateral ties with the Kurdish leadership as well as sign an MoU with the KRG.
Mr István Mikola’s delegation included Tamás Vargha, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense: Réka Szemerkenyi, Senior International and Energy Security Advisor to Hungary’s Prime Ministry, and several other officials and business leaders.
During the two-day visit, the Hungarian delegation held meetings with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Minister for Peshmerga Affairs, Mustafa Saiyd Qadir, KRG Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, and the Head of Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa.
At the opening of the Consulate General, Mr Mikola said, “The Government of Hungary has decided to lay a new foundation for its foreign policy. This new policy pays special attention to the countries of the Middle East, to Iraq, and within Iraq to the Kurdistan Region.”
“When many foreigners were considering leaving Kurdistan, we decided to stay and expand our presence in the Kurdistan Region. We have made the right decision because the heroic Peshmerga forces have been able to repel the ISIS attacks and to preserve the security of the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
Commending the role of the Kurdistan Region in regional stability, Mr Mikola said, “Kurdistan Region has become the leading force of the international coalition against ISIS and a safe haven for hundreds of thousands of refuges and IDPs who are fleeing ISIS barbarism.”
Mr Mikola reiterated the strong desire of the Hungarian government to further strengthen bilateral ties with the Kurdistan Region. He said, “Hungary will be your strong and reliable partner. The Consul General has got clear instructions from Hungary, he has to make every effort to broaden the bilateral relations in all fields.”
Speaking on behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Minister Mustafa commended the decision of the government of Hungary to open its consulate general in Erbil. He said, “With the opening of this office, we are entering a new phase in our relations. It is a great step forward and will certainly enhance relations between the Kurdistan Region and Hungary.”
He assured the Hungarian delegation that Hungary’s mission in Kurdistan will receive full support from the KRG.
The opening ceremony was also attended by senior KRG officials as well as Hungary’s Ambassador to Baghdad, Tibor Szatmari, and Hungary’s Consul General in Erbil, Csaba Vezekenyi.
The Hungarian delegation concluded its visit to Kurdistan by signing a memorandum of understanding with the KRG. The MoU outlines areas of cooperation, including political consultation, archeology, energy, information technology, tourism, and higher education.
Hungary is the 31st nation to open a diplomatic representation in the Kurdistan Region.