At the end of Monday’s meeting with Viktor Orbán, US President Donald Trump said the Hungarian prime minister and he “were like twins”, the US ambassador to Budapest said in an interview to news portal 444.hu.
Trump also said: “Not everyone agrees with us, not everyone loves us, but let’s look at our results,” Cornstein said in the interview published on Wednesday. He noted the meeting had been longer than planned. “If you’re interested in someone and have lots of questions, your meeting may go on longer,” he said.
Cornstein said that before his appointment to Budapest, the US administration had paid little attention to Hungary. “This was due to the attitude of Obama’s administration,” he said. Trump, however, assumes “we’re friends, allies in NATO, we have a great common history, and we need to have good relations with each other.” Cornstein said his first priority had been to show that “America’s heart and spirit has changed towards Hungary”. Consequently, top US politicians came to Hungary, most recently Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We have shown how we are treating this wonderful country differently,” he said, adding that hopefully these gestures would be reciprocal. The ambassador said the aim of the meeting had been mainly about the two leaders getting to know each other, but they had also talked about immigration, border control, arms purchases, expanding trade ties and how to work together.
Hungary and the US agree that Hungary must diversify its energy supplies, adding that it was unhealthy for 85% of a country’s energy supply to come from a single country. “We are working together to continue Exxon’s extraction and for Romanian gas to be supplied to Hungary, as well as to deliver liquefied gas to Hungary via Croatia.” At the White House meeting, the issue of Ukraine was also raised, Cornstein said. The US backs Ukraine, he said, but the administration understands the Hungarian government’s concerns about the fate of its Hungarian minority and its access to education in the mother tongue. “But I have also said many times that I do not agree with the linkage between Ukrainian law and NATO affairs,” he said, adding that it was in Hungary’s interest that good relations between NATO and Kiev are maintained.
Commenting on potential arms purchases, Cornstein said he hoped that Hungary would be able to buy weapons from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
Asked about China and Orbán’s goal of building good relations with the Beijing leadership, the ambassador said he was confident that Orbán would be on the side of NATO and the West. “But if I were in his place, I would also be keeping an eye on the world’s leading powers just as he is doing,” he added.