Hungary Wants to Help Reconstruct Nagorno-Karabakh

Hungary wants to take part in the reconstruction of Azerbaijani territories that were freed from occupation, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said last week, Anadolu Agency reported.

“After the end of the conflict [Nagorno-Karabakh], we have now discussed how Hungarian companies can participate in the reconstruction of areas previously affected by the war,” Szijjarto said in a Facebook post after speaking with Azerbaijani Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population Sahil Babayev. “Hungary has always stood up for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”

Hungary’s Exim Bank opened a $100 million credit line for companies who want to be part of the reconstruction program, according to Szijjarto, who said his government offered a €25,000 ($30,380) grant for demining the region.

He said gas supply is critical for Central Europe and beginning in 2025, Hungary can buy natural gas from Azerbaijan through a pipeline between Azerbaijan and Europe.

Relations between former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted Sept. 27, 2020, Armenia launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and even violated humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages, while at least 2,802 of its soldiers were martyred. There are differing claims about the number of casualties on the Armenian side, which sources and officials say could be as high as 5,000.

The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement Nov. 10 to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.

A joint Turkish-Russian center is being established to monitor the truce. Russian peacekeeping troops have also been deployed in the region.

The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces have withdrawn in line with the agreement.

Violations, however, have been reported in recent weeks, with Armenian soldiers reportedly hiding in the mountainous enclave.