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Hungarian embassy marks national day, lauds Jordanian resilience

By JT - Oct 22,2019 - Last updated at Oct 22,2019

Csaba Czibere

AMMAN — Jordan serves as an example of how a country surrounded by constant challenges of the Middle East can be part of the solution and never the problem, said Hungarian Ambassador to Jordan Csaba Czibere.

Speaking to The Jordan Times on the occasion of Hungary’s national day, which the embassy is marking on Wednesday, the envoy said that Hungary regards Jordan as a key partner regionally and in tackling many global issues. 

”My country appreciates the Jordanain people’s resilience under difficult economic circumstances. In the year when we mark 55 years of diplomatic relations, we appreciate 20 years of dedicated leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah on the domestic and world scenes,” he said. 

Hungary is part of the international coalition fighting terrorism in the region, Czibere said. 

”We highly value the cooperation we developed with our Jordanian partners in all related fields. Agreeing with its principles, my government last month joined the Christchurch Call to counter extremism in the world,” he added. 

Only peace and stability in the region will allow the return of millions of refugees, many residing in Jordan, the ambassador added, sharing his country’s experience of hosting tens of thousands of refugees during the war in the neighbouring former Yugoslavia. Only the Dayton Peace Agreement made their return to their homeland possibe. 

”Meanwhile, my government’s programme Hungary Helps in cooperation with Caritas Jordan brings funds to expand work opportunities for refugees in Jordan, or reconstruction in Iraq,” he said.

Hungary also opened its market for refugee-made products and the first shipment of organic produce and handicrafts has arrived, the envoy continued. Hungary is also an export destination in which Jordanian companies benefit from the modified Rules of Origin agreement with the EU. 

Discussing cooperation for global progress, Czibere highlighted the ”success” of the last World Science Forum (WSF) held two years ago at the Dead Sea in Jordan, opened by His Majesty King Abdullah and Hungarian President János Áder, which brought together a ”record number” of participants.

”Next month, the Forum comes ’home’ to Budapest, where we look forward to welcoming HRH Princess Sumaya and a strong Jordanian delegation to continue WSF’s mission of promoting international scientific exchanges,” he said.

Also, representing His Majesty, Minister of Water Raed Abu Soud last week participated in the 3rd Budapest Water Summit where international stakeholders were looking for institutional, financial and technological solutions for global water and sanitation problems, he noted. 

Stressing that ”the road to the future inevitably leads through education”, the envoy said: ”Five years ago, my government started a fully funded scholarship programme called Stipendium Hungaricum to welcome young people from all around the world to pursue studies in English on all academic levels and fields.”

”Today, around 10,000 students from 68 countries from all continents benefit from the programme. Jordan is the largest recepient, with 400 scholarships each year.

”I think the success of the programme in this country can be measured by both the growing number of applicants (2700 this year) and the scholarship holders (900 this academic year).

”In addition to the self-sponsoring students, the nearly 1,000-strong Jordanian student community is one of the biggest at our universities. We are proud to have them and hope that after their graduation they will return with competitive knowledge to serve their and Jordan’s future,” Czibere said.

Touching on trade ties, the envoy said one ”cannot be satisfied” with last year’s turnover of $37 million, primarily consisting of Hungarian exports to the Kingdom. 

”My government, through the Hungarian EximBank, set up a meaningful country fund for Jordan of $90 million to promote bilateral businesses,” he said.

To enhance people-to-people and business ties, the envoy pointed to the ”vital” need for a direct air link. Since last November, Ryanair flies twice a week between Budapest and Amman, facilitating easy and affordable access between the two countries, the ambassador said. 

”Jordan is a safe and unique destination for Hungarian tourists, and Jordanians can also enjoy many flavours of Europe in Hungary, apart from visiting their relatives and friends studying there. My embassy will introduce new measures to facilitate visa application for Jordanians before the end of this year,” he added. 

The ambassador concluded with mention of a project ”close to his heart”, the Hungarian government’s contribution of a ”considerable donation” to facilitate the completion of the new Latin church being built at the Baptism Site. 

”We made a similar first donation in Bethlehem, when the international call was made in 2011 to renovate the Church of the Nativity. With this we pay tribute to our local government, church and civil partners who make daily efforts to preserve the Christian tradition in the Holy Land and to receive a growing number of pilgrims from around the world,” he said.

”Here again, Jordan serves as an example of respect and community for all of its citizens and guests.”

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