“Hungary and the United States have confirmed their strategic alliance”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told public media following his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Wednesday.

“We confirmed that the United States views Hungary and the whole Central European region as its natural ally”, the Minister highlighted.

Mr. Szijjártó assured his American partner that “Hungary will not be joining the ranks of Europeans who are criticising the United States almost as a hobby”.

“Hungary will continue to maintain a balanced approach to American foreign and domestic policy decisions and refrain from any kind of comment or criticism”, he stated.

“The political approaches of the current U.S. administration and the Hungarian Government are extremely similar; both regard guaranteeing the safety of their citizens as a top priority”, he explained.

“We will continue to cooperate on highly important foreign policy issues, including with relation to UN reform and also with relation to the fact that we would like to achieve a fair international approach towards Israel”, he pointed out. “We will also be cooperating in the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism, and also in the interests of protecting Christian communities worldwide”, the Minister added.

“The Unites States will be playing a major role in securing Hungary’s energy supply in view of the fact that we have been given a promise that the American administration also supports the shipping of the American natural gas to be extracted in Romania to Hungary”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

“American enterprises now constitute the second largest investor community in Hungary, the 1700 American enterprises currently operating in Hungary employ some one-hundred thousand people. During our talks, we confirmed our intent to further develop economic cooperation”, he told the press.

Renewing defence cooperation is also important, and for this reason he presented his American colleague with Hungary’s proposals for a future Hungarian-American defence cooperation agreement, the Minister said. “We have already conducted two rounds of negotiations on the subject, and there is a clear political intent on both sides for the renewal of the agreement”, he said, adding that the parties have now agreed to accelerate the process.

“Hungarian military personnel have already been serving in American-led missions, but the parties have now agreed that Hungarian soldiers will also be taking part in NATO’s planned training mission in Iraq, with relation to which concrete discussions will begin immediately”, he noted.

“At the meeting, it was mentioned that NATO member states should comply as soon as possible to the so-called two percent requirement, meaning 2 percent of their GDP must be spent on defence, and Hungary has a clear schedule for achieving this goal”, he added.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that regional security and stability are extremely important to Hungary, one of the foundations of which is the protection of minorities throughout Europe, and especially in Central Europe.

The Minister also told the press that the Islamic State jihadist organisation has lost 98 percent of its occupied territories thanks to the activities of the global coalition led by the United States, and in which Hungary is also participating. “For this reason, ISIS has changed tactics and has begun to send its foreign fighters back to Europe and other points around the world, against which we can protect ourselves through strict border security, and accordingly we must maintain our capability to protect our borders”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that the Ukrainian Education Act had also been a subject of discussion at the meeting. He informed his American colleague about the fact that on Tuesday he had met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, with who he agreed that they would concentrate on a solution and centre on the future rather than the past. “The United States also supports this approach”, he stated.

“The U.S. administration has already played a very active part in finding a solution to the issue; U.S. state department officials have regularly brought up the issue during talks with Ukrainian government representatives, and without the action of the Unites States we would not have succeeded in convening a session of the Hungarian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Working Group for late June, the Ukrainian Education Minister would not have invited the leaders of the KMKSZ (Transcarpathian Hungarian Cultural Association) to engage in official negotiations, the extension of the deadline for the implementation of the Education Act to 2023 would not already be on the agenda of Ukraine’s Parliament, and there would be no significant progress with relation to exempting private schools from the scope of authority of the new regulations”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó asked his American negotiating partner to ensure that the United States continues to support the Hungarian-Ukrainian talks, and makes it clear to Ukraine that minority issues are important and everyone must also conform to international law in this regard, irrespective of geopolitical issues.

((Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade))