Press statement by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán following talks with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

28 February 2023, Cairo (القاهرة)

We thank President el-Sisi for his hospitality and the opportunity to pay him a friendly visit. I am particularly pleased to be able to foster relations with the President which are not only friendly, but fraternal – and which are deepening political and economic cooperation between our two countries and giving them strong roots. Therefore I am grateful for this personal friendship. Ninety-five years is a long time, but in all modesty we can say that throughout these ninety-five years relations between our two countries have never been better than in the years since the President has been at the helm in Egypt. I do not know whether the Egyptian public has focused attention on this, but a strong element in modern politics is changeability: there are no stable relationships, and no leaders are in office for long periods of time. Now the President and I are in the fortunate position of having been able to lead our countries for many years, and so this relationship – the Egyptian-Hungarian relationship – has a stable basis. We can look back on several long years, we are planning for several long years ahead, and we feel that we can still do much good for the friendship of our two peoples.

Dear President,

In public also I can say that Hungary is not in an easy situation. In Hungary today life is much more dangerous than it was in previous years. We are confronted with three sources of danger. The war between Russia and Ukraine is physically close to our country, and if that war escalates it could very rapidly reach Hungary. Therefore Hungary has an interest in peace, and we will do our utmost to reduce the risk of escalation. This is why we are also prepared to enter into disputes within the Western world, and why we staunchly support a diplomatic solution, a ceasefire and peace negotiations. This is in the interest of Hungary, but also of the rest of Europe – and indeed of human values in general. And I am glad that together with the President we agree on this; because the more of us who speak in favour of peace, the greater the chance that sooner or later we will be able to bring this conflict to a state of calm, and away from escalation.

The second danger we face is that times of war always create blocs in the world economy. Today I see a tendency to create some kind of new system of blocs in world politics instead of interconnectedness and connectivity. We are a country that sees no interest for itself in this. So if blocs form, if East and West once more confront each other as blocs, if there is no crossover, if there is no trade, this will be very bad news for Hungary. What we have learned from history is that if there are blocs, then Central Europe – and Hungary within it – always loses. So it is a great opportunity for us, through our relations with Egypt, to work against the formation of blocs and to work for connectivity.

Dear Hosts,

Hungary is particularly grateful to Egypt on the issue of migration. A big question is what will happen to humanity and whether peoples can keep their own homelands, or whether a general movement will change everything. We number among those who do not want the world to be populated by displaced migrants who are torn from their homelands, causing all kinds of conflicts with large-scale movements of people. We therefore want to help all peoples to thrive in their own lands. To do this, we must take a clear stand against illegal immigration. We see that Europe has a line of defence in North Africa, and the strongest bulwark within this is Egypt. If it were not for Egypt, if Egypt were not pursuing its current policy, today Europe would be in very deep trouble. The stability of Egypt, the work that Egypt is doing, could not be more closely linked to the security of Europe – including to the security of our country. For the work that you are doing, Europe owes Egypt and the President its thanks, respect and support. For our part, we will do our utmost to ensure that Egypt receives this thanks, respect and support.

Finally, I would like to say that we have had excellent negotiations on bilateral relations. Today a business forum is also taking place here, with the joint participation of Egyptian and Hungarian companies, 86 companies. This shows that relations between the two countries are getting stronger. I am pleased that we will be able to develop cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. We are pleased that Egypt can also play a role in addressing the vulnerability of Hungary’s energy supply – the fact that we have to import our energy – and that we will be able to obtain LNG gas from you at some point after 2026. I am pleased that there is industrial cooperation, and I am also pleased that we will not just sell industrial products to you, but that we can come here, we can create Egyptian-Hungarian joint ventures, and we can jointly produce high-quality products. This level of cooperation is higher than hitherto. And in conclusion, we are delighted that you are sending your sons and daughters to study in Hungary. We are pleased that we are able to welcome two hundred Egyptian students every year, because they will be the ones who in the future will eventually sustain the great relationship that we have managed to build between our two countries. All in all, I can say that the work we have been able to do today has been done together with the President.

Thank you very much for the opportunity for negotiations and cooperation.