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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán press statement after his talks with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister

Honourable Prime Minister,

The Budapest Water Summit is currently under way which we are proud to host. This summit has brought to us the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and this in turn has brought about the first Hungarian-Bangladeshi summit in world history. The heads of the two countries’ governments met now for the first time, and we are grateful to the Esteemed Prime Minister for having made this possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Additionally, in the Esteemed Prime Minister’s person we may welcome a very special guest in Hungary. Everyone knows here, in Central-Europe that the most elemental virtue – in particular, when it comes to politics – is courage. A Prime Minister has come to Hungary as our guest who may set an example of courage for all of us. Her personal life and career amply demonstrate that if someone wants to do something for their country and people in that part of the world, they must take a great many risks, and must endure a great many sacrifices and losses. Therefore, we personally have the utmost respect for the Esteemed Prime Minister and in particular, for her family. We are aware of the courage with which her family have worked for the people of Bangladesh in the past few decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

But beyond the respect that her family deserves, it is important to mention that Bangladesh has some remarkable achievements as far as its economy is concerned. Thanks to the Honourable Prime Minister and her government, there has been an improvement in the situation of this country which deserves attention here, in Europe as well. It deserves our attention in particular because it stands as proof of the fact that the welfare of a nation can be enhanced even if, seemingly, all natural forces and inherited poverty, too, are in the way of success. I would like to remind members of the press that economic growth is continuously above six per cent in Bangladesh, it even reached seven per cent last time, and they have managed to halve poverty in the last 15 to 20 years. Life expectancy in Bangladesh has increased by ten years, and the percentage of girls enrolling in primary school has risen to above ninety per cent which is a remarkable performance, and for this we express our utmost appreciation. It is also important to know about this country and its leaders that it is a country that does not hesitate to undertake international commitments. We also respect Bangladesh on account of the fact that it takes part in a variety of UN operations around the world with nine thousand soldiers.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As regards bilateral relations, Bangladesh is situated geographically far from us, but it is a valuable, uncharted territory for us. We do have relations with Bangladesh, but we feel that the potential is much greater than what we have discovered to date. So there are foundations that we can build on, in particular, such as cooperation in the field of water management. Everyone knows also in the territory of Hungary that Bangladesh is a country that is particularly exposed to climate change, where floods are frequent. Here, in Hungary we often see reports and media coverage depicting these disasters. And if someone takes a look at the map and sees the size of the country and its high population figure, they may also see that the solution of everyday water supply and drainage in itself poses a major challenge to the country. We discussed today, and shall continue to discuss at the business forum this afternoon, how we could find cooperation in this field as Hungary is in the vanguard as regards its knowledge in the areas of water management, waste management and sewage management. Additionally, this area, that is, the region of Bangladesh is not entirely unknown to us as Hungarian water companies, water management companies have operations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and in Vietnam, for that matter. So why could we not extend these operations to Bangladesh as well?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

However surprising it may be, we also see scope for cooperation in the high-tech industry. We believe that the changeover to the digital economy is another opportunity as Hungary is advanced in this field as well, while Bangladesh has high aspirations, and so the possibility of cooperation is also enfolding in this field. Finally, I regard the possibility of cooperation in agriculture as likewise important. We discussed these possibilities, too, and we shall discuss them in more detail at the afternoon forum. Now, as regards politics – and I would like to thank the Esteemed Prime Minister especially for this – I should close my statement by saying that Bangladesh is a country that rejects every form of terrorism. Bangladesh is a country which lays down absolutely clearly that the international community and each and every government must pursue a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism. I informed the Honourable Prime Minister that this is the situation in Hungary. We take action against all violent acts and acts driven by the ideology of terrorism in the spirit of zero tolerance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I also share the Honourable Prime Minister’s view that terrorism cannot be tied either to any one religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group. And one cannot discredit any one religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group with the accusation of terrorism. Terrorism is terrorism. Terrorism is unacceptable in all of its manifestations, it is entirely irrelevant what reasons it cites and what grounds it designates as its ideological tenet. Terrorism is an act to be punished, and in this respect Bangladesh and Hungary will state their opinions on the matter in a similar tone of voice in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We shall have a business forum in the afternoon where I am going to encourage Hungarian business actors, Hungarian entrepreneurs and Hungarian businesses to take part in the development of Bangladesh, regardless of the great geographical distance, as they successfully did earlier in other countries in the region, and to make good use of the opportunity that is inherent in the development trend that the Bangladeshi economy has demonstrated to the entire world in the past few years.

I would like to thank the Esteemed Prime Minister once again for visiting us.