US Secretary of State Tours Eastern, Central Europe
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tour is part of a broader aim to counter Russian influence in the region
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with senior Hungarian government officials, to stress the importance of promoting democracy – and not letting Russian President Vladimir Putin drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies.
“You know too often in the recent past the United States was absent from Central Europe, that’s unacceptable. Our rivals filled those vacuums. Today we reaffirm our determination to compete for positive influence in the region. We’ll do so through reinvigorated diplomacy, to co-operate strategically but also allows us to frankly discuss areas where we disagree in a manner that befits allies,” Pompeo said.
“You need to look no further than Ukraine, Hungary’s next door neighbor why this is needed. And today I spoke with the foreign minister about the urgent importance of supporting Ukraine in its quest for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Pompeo said.
Meanwhile, Pompeo’s Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto condemned, in his words, the enormous hypocrisy and political correctness in the European political arena with regards to Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline.
“In Central Europe, we are presently in a one-sided energy dependence on Russia and this is especially true for natural gas procurement. In Hungary’s case, 85 percent of our gas is obtained from Russia. We have done everything possible, we have carried out every investment to be able to purchase gas from other sources. We are now in a situation where it is exclusively up to our allies whether we can diversify our gas sources,” Szijjarto said.
Pompeo is also using his European tour to warn about significant risks for information security and privacy with regards to the expansion of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in Europe.