“We have begun rebuilding the third pillar of the system of Hungarian-American relations: political relations”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said following talks with his American counterpart.

At a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Minister highlighted: “The economic and defence pillar of the system of bilateral relations has already existed in previous years, but political relations have also begun to improve and be rebuilt rapidly since the Republican administration came into office, as also indicated by the U.S. Secretary of State’s current visit”.

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Földházi

“All this is thanks to the fact that the Hungarian Government and the Trump administration represent the same or a very similar approach with relation to several general political and international issues. Accordingly, both practice patriotic politics in which national interests come first, and believe that one of the fundamental duties of the state is to guarantee the safety of its own citizens”, he explained. “This is why we cooperated in the fight against the UN Global Compact for Migration”, he pointed out. “In addition, both want to protect Christian heritage and Christian communities worldwide, and are making a stand in international organisations to assure that they apply a fair approach with respect to Israel”, he added.

“Hungary has always based its foreign policy on mutual respect, and has viewed it as a matter of principle to veto all European decisions that judge the United States’ sovereign foreign policy decisions”, the Foreign Minister also stated. “Our foreign policy makes it possible for us to be honest”, he said, adding that for this reason they were also able to debate issues such as Hungary’s relationship with Russia, Chinese economic expansion and Hungarian-Ukrainian relations.

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Földházi

“The fate of the 150 thousand Hungarians living in Transcarpathia is important to Hungary, and for this reason it is unable to view the situation in Ukraine as a geopolitical issue”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised.

“Hungary share of trade flow between the EU and China is 1.2 percent, and it is hypocritical to criticise Hungary for maintaining close relations with Russia, while business deals are being closed between Western Europe and Russia”, he also said.

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

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Földházi

“Hungary is a dependable defence and military ally. Important negotiations are also in progress on procurements, and the National Defence Committee will soon also be approached with relation to the fact that advanced negotiations are ongoing on a mid-range air defence system”, he stated.

Mr. Szijjártó also told reporters that he had asked for his American colleague’s assistance in facilitating a rapid decision on the part of ExxonMobil with relation to the company beginning the extraction of natural gas from the Romanian gas field, because as a result Hungary will be able to take a step forward in the diversification of its gas procurement sources.
“The United States is the second largest investor in Hungary, and the 1700 American companies operating here provide jobs to 105 thousand Hungarians”, he noted.

In reply to a question, Mr. Szijjártó declared: “Hungary cooperation with China or Russia does not influence the fact that the country is a dependable ally in NATO”. Concerning the criticism of Hungary for its relationship with Russia, the Minister emphasised: “It isn’t Hungarian or Central European energy companies that are constructing a gas pipeline together with Gazprom”.

DownloadPhoto: Árpád Földházi

“Central Europe is in a one-sidedly dependent situation with respect to Russia with regard to energy procurement, despite the fact that we have done everything possible and realised all of the necessary infrastructure projects to enable us to purchase gas from other sources”, he stated.

Mr. Szijjártó said that in his opinion it depends on our allies whether diversification is successful, but it is not in Western Europe’s interests for Central Europe to succeed in this, otherwise it would not be constructing a new gas procurement route between Russia and Germany. “This will lead to an improvement in Western Europe’s natural gas supply, while we are waiting for our allies to make decisions that will enable us to also purchase gas via other routes”, the Foreign Minister explained.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)