Maldives and Hungary signed three key agreements on Wednesday, including an additional protocol to the existing MoU on Hungaricum Stipendium scholarships, which increases the number of annual scholarships offered by Hungary to Maldivian students.
The agreements were signed on Wednesday morning, as part of Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó’s official visit to Maldives at the invitation of Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
The additional protocol to the MoU on Hungaricum Stipendium scholarships – originally signed in 2021 -was signed by Szijjártó and Maldivian Higher Education Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan.
With the additional protocol, the annual scholarships offered by Hungary to Maldivian students will increase from 15 slots to 25 slots.
The other two agreements signed Wednesday was a MoU on economic cooperation and a MoU on sports diplomacy.
MOU ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION
The MoU on economic cooperation was signed by Szijjártó and Shahid. According to Shahid, the agreement aims to promote business linkages and facilitate the growth of bilateral trade and investments in several areas such as construction, hospitality and tourism through exchange of officials and experts between the two countries.
MOU ON SPORTS DIPLOMACY
The MoU on cooperation in the field of sports diplomacy was signed by Szijjártó and Maldivian Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof. According to Shahid, the agreement will facilitate exchange of technical skills, information, and training programs between the two countries.
The signing of the agreements had followed official bilateral talks between Maldives and Hungary, during which Szijjártó and Shahid discussed key thematic areas including economic cooperation, youth and sports, health, tourism, fisheries and agriculture, and environment and climate change.
HUNGARY TO JOIN VFS VISA FACILITATION CENTER
In a press conference after the signing of the agreements, Shahid said Hungary had decided to join the VFS Visa Facilitation Center established in the Maldivian capital, Male’ City.
“With Hungary, the VFS Visa Facilitation Centre would now offer visa facilitation services for Maldivians to travel to five different countries in Europe,” he said.
Shahid also thanked Szijjártó for his continuous support for Maldives’ efforts to obtain visa free travel for Maldivian nationals to EU member states.
He also thanked the Hungarian government, the Honorary Consul of Maldives in Hungary, Radu Morar and Honorary Consul General of Hungary in Maldives, Mohamed Ali Janah, for their timely assistance in facilitating a safe passage for Maldivian students to travel out of Ukraine back in March, after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out.
“I am confident that we will be able to build on the constructive discussions we have had today and further strengthen our relationship in the coming years,” he said.
Shahid concluded his statement by addressing Szijjártó in Hungarian.
“I would like to thank Peter once again, for accepting my invitation and undertaking this historic visit. I am confident that the close cooperation between our two countries will continue to flourish in the years ahead,” he said.
Szijjártó’s visit marks the first official visit to Maldives by a Hungarian Foreign Minister.
He is set to pay a courtesy call on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih later Wednesday.