The visit of the Council delegation to Budapest / Hungary during the period from 26 to 29 September 2023
A delegation, consisting of Mr. Ambassador Mohamed El Orabi, Chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Ambassador Ali El Hafny, Secretary General of the Council, visited Hungary at the invitation of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, during the period from September 26 to 29, 2023. The visit program included, in addition to meeting with researchers The Hungarian Institute held the following meetings: Meeting with the Director of the Foreign Affairs Office in the Office of the President of the Republic; Meeting with the Director of the Office and Political Advisor to the Prime Minister; Mr. President of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs; Mr. Director of the Migration Research Institute. Mr. Mohamed El-Shenawy, Egyptian Ambassador to Budapest, attended all the meetings held by the Council delegation, and held a dinner in his honor at the residence.
Ambassador Mohamed Al-Orabi gave a lecture on Egyptian positions and visions regarding Middle East issues, and all the meetings were rich in terms of the many topics that were discussed. The meetings demonstrated the extent of the interest of the Hungarian side, whether officials or researchers, and its passion for learning about the estimates of one of the best Egyptian think tanks, especially with regard to topics of common interest. Bilateral relations and the European situation were discussed, especially in light of the Ukrainian-Russian war and the many international crises it caused, in addition to the international sanctions imposed on Russia, especially the food and fuel crises, and the impact of this and other crises on the economies of the two countries and the global economic situation. The Hungarian side pointed to the importance of thinking about how to reduce the sanctions imposed on Russia as one of the tools for seeking to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. The Palestinian issue and the repercussions that we are witnessing, in connection with it, at the present time within Israel and the state of impasse in international efforts to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table were also discussed. As well as the stagnation of the situation with regard to the crises resulting from what was said to be the Arab Spring revolutions, whether related to Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, or Lebanon.
It was pointed out that international powers have recently invaded the African continent and the increase in waves of violence, extremism and terrorism, in addition to organized crime and the recent increase in coups d’état in West Africa. The Hungarian side expressed its concerns about the possibility of an explosion in the situation in this region, which Europe will not accept, wondering who will fill the vacuum resulting from the French withdrawal. He stressed that the United States is not interested in the situation in Africa, and that the Russians and Chinese will not be able to fill that void. The Hungarian side also pointed out the importance of leaving it to the African side to shape the features of democratic systems in a way that is consistent with African reality without external interference. The Egyptian side offered to establish tripartite Egyptian-Hungarian cooperation in Africa, which was welcomed by the Hungarian side. The Hungarian side also indicated its interest in achieving further cooperation with Egypt in the security field, against the backdrop of Egypt’s success in containing terrorism, as well as in controlling illegal immigration, as the President of the Council suggested that Hungary should seriously consider receiving numbers of Egyptian cadres in the form of Legal immigration. The Hungarian side welcomed in principle this proposal, noting that the phenomenon of population decline in Hungary has begun to recede as a result of the many benefits granted to citizens to encourage population growth. The Egyptian side has warned of the danger of population increase in Africa, which will double over the next three decades, which must be taken into account now. The Hungarian side pointed out the importance of supporting European programs that increase attraction factors within the African continent to encourage its population to remain there instead of resorting to immigration. On the other hand, the Hungarian side expressed its agreement with the Council regarding the American policy towards China, and drew attention to the added value that China can represent to the international economy, in addition to the fact that we prefer a multipolar system that achieves balance in international relations.
The Hungarian side was interested in learning about the latest developments in the situation regarding the Ethiopian dam, and suggested benefiting from successful experiences in settling water disputes on the European and Asian stages, and called for considering the experience of the “Danube River Water Council” DANUB COMMISSION, which the council delegation welcomed after To provide a comprehensive presentation on the current and future situation, which portends great dangers.
The meetings showed the extent of convergence in the Egyptian and Hungarian viewpoints and assessments, as well as the feeling of pride on both sides of the progress and diversity achieved by Egyptian-Hungarian relations in recent years, which was confirmed by the repeated meetings of the Egyptian and Hungarian leadership, which will of course be reinforced by the visit that the President of the Hungarian Republic will make to Egypt at the end of November 2023. The President of the Council also pointed out the observed thin line between Egypt’s principles and its interests in its foreign relations, within which it seeks to observe ethical rules in its relations with other countries.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Council and the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, on the sidelines of the visit. The Chairman of the Council expressed interest in establishing joint research programs with the Hungarian Institute and invited the President of the Hungarian Institute to visit Egypt. He also proposed cooperation in the field of exchange and training of diplomats from the two countries, so that each time he would exchange views on global crises.
On the other hand, the President of the Council pointed out the importance of the President of the Hungarian Migration Research Institute visiting Egypt to resume discussions with the Council, visiting the Grand Egyptian Museum, and perhaps attending its opening. The Chairman of the Council also promised to arouse their interest in the visit of Dr. Zahi Hawass to Hungary, during which he will meet with a group of experts and those interested in Hungarian antiquities and Pharaonic civilization.