Bangladesh has maintained friendly relations with Hungary since independence. Hungary supported the cause of Bangladesh during the War of Liberation and was one of the first countries to accord recognition.

The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established as early as January 29, 1972. The relationship between the two countries was boosted following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Hungary back 2016.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto arrived here early Thursday (September 10) on a very brief official visit by a chartered flight. This was first visit by any Foreign Minister from Hungary to Bangladesh.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen received the Hungarian Foreign Minister and his entourage at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister visited the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum in the morning.

He paid tributes to the memories of the Father of the Nation and his family members who were brutally killed in 1975.

This was the first minister-level visit to Bangladesh amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Enhanced Cooperation

Bangladesh and Hungary agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of nuclear energy and required training for skilled manpower.

"Hungary has long been using nuclear energy, it's 40 years. We agreed on wide ranging cooperation on educating and training nuclear engineers," said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto at a joint briefing after his meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Padma.

He said they are building their second nuclear energy plant when Bangladesh is working on its first such plant.

"We've increased scholarship from 100 to 130 and these (additional) 30 will be provided to students who will be studying nuclear energy," said the Hungarian Foreign Minister.

"They're good in the medical area. They're very rich in electronics, good in technology, nuclear energy and tourism," he said describing Bangladesh as a land of opportunities.

The Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they can provide highly advanced technology that is required for further development of Bangladesh.

He also talked about technological cooperation in medical science and water management, apart from exploring investment in food processing area.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister hoped that they would soon start negotiations to sign a deal on avoidance of double taxation.

Responding to a question, Minister Szijjarto said he had a very good meeting with Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.

He said they will promote Hungarian companies and investment in SEZ.

Foreign Minister Dr Momen said his Hungarian counterpart has brought some good news for Bangladesh.

The Foreign Minister, on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, invited the Hungarian Prime Minister to visit Bangladesh. The invitation was in principle accepted.

Hungarian Foreign Minister conveyed the decision that Hungary would open a Consulate in Bangladesh very soon to facilitate visa and immigration process for the Bangladeshis.

Later, he met Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi at his ministry.

Safe Rohingya Repatriation

The two countries also discussed the safe return of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

"We follow the Rohingya crisis very closely. Our position is very clear. We've to make circumstances (conditions) ready and improve (the environment) in a way that all persons can have a safe and secure life. We've to promote repatriation," Minister Szijjarto said.

He said every person has the rights to have a safe and secure life. "These rights should be fulfilled and guaranteed."

Szijjarto said they have to convince Myanmar to provide circumstances to return.

He said his country will continue to support Bangladesh regarding the Rohingya issue.

Responding to a question, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said they have signed two bilateral instruments -- one on joint declaration that united the two countries while another on training diplomats.

Surprise Gift

Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto has surprised his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen with a football signed by Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas.

Minister Szijjarto shared the happy moment with Dr Momen during a joint briefing after a bilateral meeting between them at state guesthouse Padma on Thursday afternoon.

Puskas led Hungary's golden team of the early 1950s, before taking Spanish citizenship and becoming part of Real Madrid's all-conquering team.

Puskas scored 83 goals in 84 games for Hungary from 1945 to 1956 and later played for Spain in the 1962 World Cup.

After leading Hungary to the 1952 Olympic Gold medal, he was part of the Mighty Magyars who became the first overseas team to beat England on home soil in 1953, scoring twice in the 6-3 win at Wembley.

Puskas joined Real Madrid and, along with Alfredo di Stefano, was the inspiration behind a string of domestic and European titles.

He scored four goals in Real's 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in a remarkable final at Hampden Park in 1960, and won the European Cup three times with the Madrid side.

Puskas, who was in hospital for six years with Alzheimer's disease, died after suffering from a fever and pneumonia.

Thank You Hungary

Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked the government of Hungary for their support during the War of Liberation in 1971.

He also emphasized on the exchange of high-level visits between the two countries and urged the Hungarian Foreign Minister to encourage Hungarian investors and entrepreneurs to invest in various sectors like energy, renewable energy, pulp and paper, shipbuilding, telecommunication, ICT, Tourism, environmental technology etc through Hi-Tech Parks (HTPs) and Specialized Economic Zones (SEZs).

Bangladesh Foreign Minister also thanked his counterpart for the voluntary service provided by Hungarian Doctors every year in Bangladesh with surgery and consultation for our patients with burn injuries and patients with need for cosmetic/plastic surgery.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister particularly mentioned the operation of the Siamese twins Rabeya and Rokeya jointly by Bangladesh and Hungarian Doctors.

Mentioning the availability of a large pool of skilled and semi-skilled professionals and workers in Bangladesh, he proposed the Hungarian side to recruit skilled and semi-skilled workers from Bangladesh to fulfill the labour shortage in Hungary.

During the meeting, Foreign Minister thanked the Hungarian government for their continued support to Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue and requested to further extend their support as a responsible member of the international community to ensure safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their homeland. Hungarian Foreign Minister assured their support for the cause.

Two instruments- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Field of Diplomatic Training and the Exchange of Information and Documentation between the two Foreign Ministries and Joint Communiqué on the outcome of the bilateral meeting between the two Foreign Ministers were signed.

The Hungarian Minister left Dhaka on Thursday evening wrapping up his very brief visit.

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