Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pompeo, Orban Discuss US-Hungary Security Ties, European Energy Diversification

Pompeo, Orban Discuss US-Hungary Security Ties, European Energy Diversification

Orban then turned his attention to May's European Parliament elections, repeating his accusation that the leadership of the European Union wants to fill the continent with migrants, majority Muslim.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo came close to issuing an us-or-them ultimatum to nations buying from Huawei Technology Co., saying in Hungary that contracts with the Chinese networking giant could limit the availability of USA equipment.

Mijatovic said that "the space for the work of NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government has become very narrow and restricted", and called on Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government to "reverse its worrying course" on human rights.

The official also noted that Putin had visited Hungary twice a year ago and that Pompeo would meet civic leaders, some of whom have been critical of Orban.

Pompeo raised those concerns with Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been criticized for seeking closer ties with Russian Federation and China and for increasingly authoritarian rule at home.

Budapest's nationalist government, like Poland's largely isolated politically in the European Union, hopes to buy mid-range air defence capabilities from the United States.

It is also lobbying Washington for an increased military presence on its soil.

Hungary gets most of its gas from Russian Federation and its main domestic source of electricity is the Paks nuclear power plant where Russia's Rosatom is involved in a 12.5 billion-euro ($14 billion) expansion.

"They get to make their own decisions with respect to these things", Pompeo said.

Pompeo said he hoped to reverse what he called a decade of US disengagement in Central and Eastern Europe that created a vacuum Russian Federation and China have exploited.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that China appreciated Szijjarto's "independent, fair and objective" comments, and that China-Hungary ties would not be damaged or interfered with by other countries.

In Budapest on the first leg of a five-nation European tour during which he is raising American concerns about China and Russia's growing influence in Central Europe, Pompeo said nations would have to consider choosing between Huawei and the United States.

"So numerous concerns that are voiced are things that have happened in the absence of America being engaged", he told reporters. "People in the West are responding to this with immigration", Orban said in his speech, according to the New York Times.

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