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Parliamentary committee head discusses security policy, economic cooperation, political ties in Washington

Zsolt Nemeth, the head of parliament's foreign affairs committee, discussed security policy, economic cooperation and political ties at talks in the US State Department and with the deputy head of the Senate's Subcommittee on Europe, as well as with the chairman of the Congressional Hungarian-American Caucus, in Washington, DC.

Assessing his talks, Nemeth told MTI on Saturday that it is key for Hungary to maintain dialogue on the highest level with the United States as the most important player in global politics.

Security policy features high in bilateral relations in which context the issues around the stability of the Western Balkans were the main focus of talks, he said.

The US side highly appreciates the role Hungary plays in the Balkan region particularly from the point of view that the command of the KFOR mission was taken over by a Hungarian general in the autumn. Hungary was commended for considerably increasing its military contingents in the region, Nemeth said. The US negotiators also praised Hungary for safely evacuating several American citizens during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On the topic of Ukraine’s NATO accession, Nemeth underscored Hungary’s commitment towards the neighbouring country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. He, however, pointed out that Hungary could only support accession on the condition that Ukraine respects minority rights, with special regard to the acquired rights of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia. “I have told our US partners that Hungary is dissatisfied with Ukraine’s related steps,” Nemeth said.

Speaking about economic cooperation, Nemeth noted “spectacular results”. He said the United States is Hungary’s leading trading partner outside Europe and has been the second major foreign investor creating over 100,000 jobs in the country over the past thirty years. “Boosting US-Hungary economic ties and ensuring stable business environment is in Hungary’s interest,” he said, adding that the US side expressed support for the Hungarian government’s economic policy measures.

As regards political ties, Nemeth stated the Hungarian government’s objective to maintain continued and balanced relations with Washington.

“It is important to note that a political camp that represents conservative values and has the same approach to major issues in society as the Hungarian government is very strong in the United States,” he said, expressing hope that the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Budapest is set to host next spring would be an excellent opportunity for an exchange of views.

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