The top Hungarian diplomat’s remarks came during his joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, in particular, warned Hungary not to let Russian President Vladimir Putin “drive wedges between friends” in NATO.
Speaking at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeoin Budapest on Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto specifically pointed out what he described as Western countries’ hypocritical stance toward Moscow.
“As for Russia – and I have told the State Secretary about this – there is enormous hypocrisy and political correctness in the European political arena,” Szijjarto said.
He recalled that neither Hungarian nor central European energy companies are partnering with the Russian corporation Gazprom in the Nord Stream 2 project.
He also added that the French President, not the Hungarian Prime Minister, had been the main guest at the 2018 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Szijjarto pointed to the fact that “the leaders of major Western corporations rather that the heads of the Hungarian energy companies were sitting on the stage next to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin”.
In addition, the Hungarian Foreign Minister pointed to the volume of trade between Western Europe and Russia, underscoring the flaws in the narrative that Budapest is more closely tied to Moscow.
“Look at the data on trade turnover between Western European countries and Russia. We are, so to speak, sick and tired of you painting us as a country which has close ties with Russia,” Szijjarto noted.
Responding to Pompeo’s remarks that Hungary should not let Russian President Vladimir Putin “drive wedges between friends” in NATO, Szijjarto assured that cooperation with Moscow wouldn’t prevent Budapest from remaining a reliable ally of the United States and NATO.
Pompeo, for his part, underscored Moscow’s increasing international clout and asserted that Russia “does not share the desire for freedom”.
He also announced “new initiatives that will strengthen the US presence in Central Europe”, pledging to support Hungary “in its fight against corruption, strengthening law enforcement cooperation and providing mentorships training in exchanges for independent media in all four Visegrad countries”.