A foreign ministry official has met US government officials to discuss energy security in central and eastern Europe, the renewal of the US-Hungarian defence cooperation and aid for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
Relations between the countries have changed since the election of Donald Trump as president, Levente Magyar, foreign ministry state secretary, told MTI during a two-day visit to Washington. Bilateral talks are now “friendly and cooperative”.
Magyar met Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Fiona Hill, a senior director of the National Security Council, Kurt Volker, the US Special Representative for Ukraine, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and Theodore Garrish, an assistant secretary at the Energy Department. He also met members of the US-Hungarian Business Council.
Regarding energy security, Magyar said talks focused on Hungary’s aim to diversify its energy supplies. “Our main goals have been the same for 30 years, because Hungary’s dependence on one resource of natural gas [from Russia] is unhealthy,” Magyar said. Hungary has so far been working on diversifying its access to natural gas by drawing on its own resources in cooperation with its neighbours, but without substantial help from the EU or the US, he said.
“Right now, curbing central Europe’s dependence on Russian gas is not dependent on Hungary,” Magyar said, adding that Hungary counted on US help to promote political decision-making and economic processes that result in other countries in the region taking the necessary steps to achieve energy independence.
Magyar also had talks on the legal framework of a defence cooperation agreement that “renews current regulations while serving both countries’ interests and fully respecting Hungarian sovereignty”. Improving bilateral relations will pave the way for the signing of such an agreement in the near future, he said. The state secretary also had talks on coordinating US and Hungarian aid efforts for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. “Helping Christians in the region aligns with the Hungarian government’s aim to deliver aid to where the trouble is in contradistinction to the mainstream European rhetoric of supporting and boosting illegal migration,” he said.