Mike Pompeo at talks in the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Zsolt Szigetváry /MTI

The U.S. strives to deepen relations with Hungary

February 12, 2019

The Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo paid a short visit to Budapest, meeting with state leaders, discussing the political, economic and defense aspects of bilateral relations. He also met the representatives of several NGOs in the Hungarian capital.

At a press conference with his Hungarian counterpart, Péter Szijjártó, Mike Pompeo welcomed the finalization of the text of the defense co-operation agreement and that Hungary would acquire combat equipment from his country.

Speaking of the situation in Ukraine, he said that "we must not let Putin drive wedges between friends in NATO. Hungarians know all too well from their history that an authoritarian Russia will never be a friend to the freedom and sovereignty of smaller nations.”

Mike Pompeo also criticized China, saying China is trying to build a bridgehead in Europe. “There’s an experience of states in the Asia-Pacific region that shows that Beijing’s handshake sometimes comes with strings, strings that will leave Hungary indebted both economically and politically.”He also stated that Russia and China do not share the aspirations of free countries.

The US Secretary of State announced a scholarship program for Hungarian high school students, and also talked about supporting the fight against corruption.

In response, Péter Szijjártó pointed out that “Hungary’s share of trade flow between the EU and China is 1.2% and it is hypocritical to criticize Hungary for maintaining close relations with Russia, while business deals are being closed between Western Europe and Russia.”

With relation to the defense cooperation agreement concluded between the two countries, he said the agreement was signed in 1997, and security challenges have changed since then, as a result of which the treaty had to be modernized. “The negotiations have been concluded and the text of the new agreement will be put before Parliament’s National Defense Committee”, he announced.

The Secretary of State left the Hungarian capital Tuesday morning for Warsaw, the last stop of his tour of East Central Europe.


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