Russian President Vladimir Putin started his working visit to Budapest by laying flowers of commemoration in Heroes' Square on Tuesday afternoon.
Later on, Putin laid wreaths of commemoration at the tombs of Soviet soldiers in the Fiume Street Cemetery. The plot containing the mortal remains of Soviet soldiers who died in the Second World War and during the 1956 Revolution was refurbished by a Russian foundation. Previously, opposition parties protested against the wreathlaying, saying that an inscription on the monument commemorates the 1956 Revolution as a counter-revolution.
Later in the afternoon, Putin will have talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Parliament. Putin and Orban will give a joint press conference. The Russian president will then meet his Hungarian counterpart Janos Ader in the presidential Sandor Palace in the Castle District.
A package of five pacts has been prepared to coincide with the visit, including an agreement on training Hungarian nuclear experts in Russia and Hungary's opening a consulate-general in Kazan, the seat of the Republic of Tatarstan. The others include agreements on health care and higher education as well as regional cooperation.
Orban announced that Hungary had reached a "political agreement" with Moscow on a new gas deal. "Hungary needs Russia", Mr Orban said, adding that it was important for Russia to be open to Hungarian products, which have been affected by Russia's ban on EU imports – a countermeasure to EU sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine crisis.
He added: "We are going to aspire to cooperation and having good contacts. I am personally sure that cooperation and warm relations serve not only the interests of Hungary, but of all Europe."
Vladimir Putin said: "We value our reputation as a reliable supplier of resources to Europe and Hungary."
The Russian president said that Hungary and Russia had "unquestionable potential for increasing cooperation in the economic sphere."
This was Putin's first visit to an EU member state this year, the Russian president is accompanied by a large delegation, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev, Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fedorov and Deputy Defence Minister Pavel Popov. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinskiy and Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova are also members of the delegation.
The delegation is accompanied by Gazprom Chairman Aleksei Miller, Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin and most probably Rosatom chief Sergey Kiriyenko.
The project to build two new reactor blocks at Hungary's Paks nuclear power plant is running according to schedule and it is possible additional blocks will be built later, head of the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko told the press in Budapest on Tuesday.
"There is a detailed schedule and we will strictly keep to all regulations and rules," Russian news agency quoted Kiriyenko as saying. "An environmental impact study will be prepared for the project and licensing is already under way; it will be implemented piecemeal," he added.
"Everything is proceeding according to schedule and even slightly faster," he added.
"The Hungarian economy is developing rather fast and I would not exclude the possibility that once the investment project is successfully completed, the Hungarian government will decide to build additional blocks. For the time being, such a decision has not been made, but we will react to any decisions in line with the demand," he said.
Kiriyenko said the reactors in Paks would be built with "the most up to date, post-Fukushima-type technology" and with at least 60 years guaranteed life expectancy.
Commenting on the transit of spent fuel rods via Ukraine, he said this was working smoothly and going according to plans.
Shame on Viktor Orban, who assists Putin in his efforts to tumble the fragile european security efforts against an aggressor - Zsuzsa Szelényi a foreign policy expert and MP from the opposition Együtt party wrote on Facebook. Orban must be in trouble. Most probably this visit was pushed on him: this must be the price of some cheap gas Putin gave Orban before last year election campaign to lower public utility fees. This is exactly the way how Putin extends his control on its neighbors - Szelényi wrote.
There is no basis to the suspicion surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Budapest, István Mikola, Hungarian state secretary of foreign affairs and trade, told central and eastern European diplomats in Lodz. Mikola attended a panel discussion of the 8th Europe-Ukraine Forum with high- ranking Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian diplomats reviewing the future of the EU-Ukraine association agreement. When asked why Putin was visiting Budapest, the state secretary noted that the two countries' bilateral gas supply agreement would soon expire and, for energy security reasons, Hungary has a vital interest in extending it.
All sides agreed that the future of the association agreement and the reforms in Ukraine would depend on the success of the Minsk ceasefire agreement. Several participants, however, were pessimistic about the viability of the ceasefire, Mikola told MTI over the phone. Concerning EU measures against Russia, Mikola underlined support for Europe's united stance but added that Hungary that has as an export-driven economy was unhappy about the sanctions. Addressing the event, Mikola said that there could be no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine and that Hungary would not deliver weapons to that country.
source: MTI, Facebook
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 21:58