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Home >> World
UPDATED: 14:06, March 01, 2006
Putin in Hungary to reinforce "partnership"
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the importance of Russia's "partnership" with Hungary, hoping the current relations between the two countries would never turn sour.

At the start of his two-day visit, Putin told a press conference Tuesday that despite their ups and downs in recent history, Russia's partnership with Hungary had helped Moscow improve ties with the European Union and NATO, of which Hungary is a member.

His Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Solyom echoed the eulogy on the Moscow-Budapest relationship.

Solyom voiced his appreciation of Russia's return of a collection of priceless books belonging to the Calvinist College of Sarospatak in Northeast Hungary.

The books were taken to the ex-Soviet Union as booty following World War II and were returned to Hungary a week ago.

Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany then outlined a set of joint ventures that could be significant to the economy of the entire European continent.

The strategic cooperation projects include a new gas pipeline through Hungary, a Trans-Siberian railway with Budapest as a hub, metro construction and joint development of state-of-the-art technology.

Putin hailed the talks in Budapest as sincere, pragmatic and constructive.

The Russian leader expressed his willingness to help Hungary update its sole nuclear power plant at Paks, while calling for Hungarian participation in building Russia's pharmaceutical plants and apartment house construction projects.

Asked if those plans could be upset, the Russian president said that if either Russia or Hungary lost their trust in one another, the plans could certainly turn sour.

However, there was every hope of smooth sailing, he stressed, and in reference to Hungary's April parliamentary elections Putin added, "We have experienced a measure of consensus from all political parties," which want to see stability and development in Russian-Hungarian relations.

Source: Xinhua

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