Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State praised Hungary for the steps it has taken in the interest of the energy security of the Central-European region, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian News Agency MTI via telephone after their bilateral meeting held in Dubrovnik on Friday where they also discussed defence cooperation and issues in dispute.

Mr Szijjártó, who paid a visit to Croatia on the occasion of the two-day international foreign affairs and security policy conference entitled Croatia Forum, pointed out in the context of defence cooperation that it is close and seamless. The Minister said: Hungary is honouring the undertakings  it made at the NATO summit held in Wales last September as well as at the Antalya forum of NATO foreign ministers held in May.

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade further mentioned that Mrs Nuland specifically highlighted cooperation in combating terrorism, as part of which Hungary is sending a contingency of 150 soldiers to Iraq as a contribution to the fight against the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS).

Regarding issues in dispute between the United States and Hungary, the US Assistant Secretary of State mentioned the Hungarian electoral system, the issue of media regulation, and the judiciary. In this context, Mr Szijjártó made it clear to Mrs Nuland that the Hungarian regulations and the law application practice of the judiciary fully pass the test of European legislation and European values. “Hungary is a modern democracy where democratic institutions are functioning well”, he stressed. Mr Szijjártó said that differences remained between the two countries on a number of issues; however, they agreed to cooperate closely also in the future, and to engage in ongoing consultations regarding bilateral political issues.

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At the meeting, the parties also discussed the crisis in Ukraine; in this respect, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade informed Mrs Nuland that FGSZ Földgázszállító Zrt. is the first European company to have entered into an agreement with the Ukrainian firm Naftogaz in the interest of clarifying the legal framework for reverse gas supply. Mr Szijjártó pointed out that Hungary will never supply arms to the territory of Ukraine, and a peaceful solution is the only solution that is acceptable for Hungary as a neighbouring country.

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade had talks with his Bulgarian counterpart, Daniel Mitov regarding close cooperation in the field of the fight against illegal migration. He reiterated that Bulgaria itself is compelled to endure major migration pressure, and Sofia, too, is building a fence on its territory bordering Turkey. Consequently, the two countries are deploying similar solutions with a view to alleviating the pressure of illegal migration.
Mr Szijjártó reassured Kosovar Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci at their bilateral meeting that Hungary continues to support Kosovo’s EU integration aspirations. The Ministers agreed that the two countries will sign an economic cooperation agreement before the end of this year.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade discussed issues related to the Greek debt crisis and the situation in Tunisia with Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Affairs Rui Machete.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)