Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Budapest on Monday as part of Hungary’s efforts to deepen relations with the United States.
During his visit, Pompeo also met with Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Tibor Benkő, Minister of Defense.
Pompeo said that while the United States had kept its distance from central Europe, the vacuum had been filled by its competitors, adding that this was “unacceptable”.
At a joint press conference held together with Minister Szijjártó, Pompeo welcomed the signing of a defense cooperation agreement and Hungary’s acquisition of military equipment from the US.
Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin must not be allowed “to drive a wedge between our friends and NATO”.
The secretary of state also criticized China and expressed wariness of its attempts to create a bridgehead in Europe. “Shaking hands” with China results in serious economic and political dependence, he said. He stressed that Russia and China do not share the endeavors of free countries.
Pompeo announced a scholarship scheme for Hungarian secondary school students, but increased support would also go towards fighting corruption. He said the US also wanted to strengthen police cooperation, adding that there were plans to set up mentoring and training programs.
Commenting on the issue of diversifying Hungary’s gas acquisition, he said this was a matter of national security. Every European country aims to secure alternative energy resources, he said.