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Aug 14, 2017

Hungary's new ambassador to the United States says Trump administration can help us build better relations

“The Trump administration is not afraid to say what it thinks, and it is very refreshing that a new spirit has appeared in bilateral ties," Ambassador Szabó said

Hungary's new ambassador to the United States has said that the country must make itself significant in the United States.

László Szabó, Hungary’s ambassador in Washington, made the remarks during an interview with Hungarian press ageny MTI shortly after taking up his post.

Based on the foundations of a successful Hungary-US economic relationship, the country “can and must improve the quality of political ties”, he said.

“Hungarian-American bilateral economic ties are developing very well and vigorously, and whereas annual trade turnover is now worth more than 5 billion dollars, and trade between the two countries has grown by 5 percent this year, there are still possibilities to explore and exploit,” he said.

The ambassador added that progress was being made but political ties had to be strengthened with determination.

Ambassador Szabó said that under the eight-year administration of Barack Obama “there were very serious ideological clashes” between Washington and Budapest, and “an agitated political situation emerged between the two countries”. Now, however, with the new administration of Donald Trump, “this seems to have altered significantly”.

“The Trump administration is not afraid to say what it thinks, and it is very refreshing that a new spirit has appeared in bilateral ties. The Hungarian government, since 2010, has represented Hungarian national interests very openly, and it is good to see that America similarly declares that, for Americans, America comes first, just as for Hungarians, Hungary has primacy. We don’t have to be ashamed about that in front of one another,” the ambassador said.

“Several tens of thousands of people work in the state department, a great deal of whom are holdovers from the Obama administration, but we trust that this will change and we’ll have more and more friends in the state department too,” he said.

“There are people who understand that improving Hungary-US and V4-US relations are indeed a value for America as well,” he added.

“We have to make ourselves relevant as far as America is concerned, and we have to make clear why good relations with Hungary are important,” Szabó said.

“We have also to make clear that as current president of the Visegrad Group, we are really paying attention to US energy policy and how Washington can get its liquefied natural gas into Europe,” he said. “We must get to the point that they see us as a potential market.”