Georgia Anticipates New Hungarian Ambassador

After six years’ service in Georgia, Mr. Sandor Szabo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Hungary to Georgia, bid farewell to the rank of first diplomat.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you here and now, but I cannot deny that to some extent I am sad, too, as soon I will have to leave the country I like, the people I fell in love with, as well as my Georgian and non-Georgian friends,” the Ambassador said, going on to point to the fact that he is “leaving a country which is radically different from the one he came to in the autumn of 2011”.

“This Georgia is no longer the same. Today, we see a multi-party parliamentary democracy in action, the market economy in the process of flourishing, grand infrastructural development at full speed; the rule of law is on its way to perfection, tourism is developing dynamically and culture diversity is distinctly manifested. In a word, the country is consistently modernized.”

He did note, however, that this does not mean that the country is not facing more challenges ahead, though it has made great progress on the way of European and Euro-Atlantic integration in recent years.

“When I started working here, Georgia was not an Associate Member of the European Union, Georgian citizens could not travel to the countries of the Schengen zone without a visa; Georgia did not have enhanced cooperation with NATO in the previous years…and the list of achievements is still longer! I am extremely proud of and pleased with the fact that Hungary has been an active facilitator of these positive international processes. We have never failed to emphasize our support towards the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia at various international forums as well as during negotiations with our Georgian friends. Hungary and the Hungarian people, due to historical experiences, refer to these values with special empathy,” ambassador Szabo underlined.

He overviewed the six years spent in Georgia. “This was the period when high-level meetings systematically took place, among which was the official visit of the Hungarian Prime Minister three months ago. I have a feeling of lack in one aspect only and I am afraid, not only me: the quality of our economic relations is far below the standard required by our good political relationships. This is why – hopefully in cooperation with our Georgian partners – a great number of tasks in this area have to be resolved, as the practice with other countries proves that geographical distance cannot be a barrier to trade and mutual investment”.

“You are leaving as an ambassador, but you are staying with us as our friend with your heart and with your devotion to the Georgian people,” Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, told the Ambassador. “Relations between Hungary and Georgia are not the same. They are much broader and deeper [after 6 years]. I would like to outline the people-to-people and cultural relations, and our deeper ties in the educational sector. During my career, I have worked very actively together with you [the Ambassador of Hungary] personally. I want to thank you for your support to Georgia’s interests not only in bilateral but also multilateral formats.” The minister also highlighted the increasing official visits between the two countries within the six years, also mentioning the ambassador’s support for the establishment of an intergovernmental commission of economic cooperation, which envisages new opportunities in the fields of economy and trade. He also stressed Hungary’s active support for Georgia’s integration into the European and Euro-Atlantic family, thanking the Hungarian Government for the steady support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

From the end of August, the new ambassador, Dr. Viktoria Horvath, will substitute Sandor Szabo who leaves Georgia for Moldova to continue his diplomatic duties.

Maka Lomadze

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