Szijjarto pointed out that Hungary and its central European (eastern EU) neighbours were not partnering with the Russian corporation Gazprom in the Nord Stream 2 project.
He said that French President Emmanuel Macron, not Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, had been the main guest at the 2018 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and added that cooperation with Moscow wouldn't prevent Budapest from remaining a reliable ally of the United States and NATO.
Pompeo visited Hungary and Slovakia as part of his tour of Europe, and is also visiting Poland, Belgium and Iceland. On Monday, he announced new US initiatives in the region, which include support to help Hungary in its fight against corruption, the strengthening of law enforcement cooperation and provision of mentorships, exchanges and training for independent media outlets in all four Visegrad countries.
Sputnik discussed the US Secretary of State's visit to Europe with Scott Bennett, a political analyst and former US Army officer.
Sputnik: Could you please comment on the main purpose of Mike Pompeo's trip to Europe at this point in time?
Scott Bennett: I think now we are witnessing, with Venezuela, with the Syrian pullout, the pullout of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, American foreign policy and the military policy situation, and Iran's growing confidence. We're seeing the administration of the White House, specifically the neo-cons, doubling down on an attempt to win the hearts and minds of the Europeans away from the orbit of Russian influence. This has always been a strategy of the neo-con establishment in Washington, DC: to try and expand the American Empire through military base construction as well as leveraging the IMF, UN, the EU and other international European banking cartels and bodies, and this is now the information war. So, we always have to remember: there is a military dimension of war, there's an economic dimension of war, there are diplomatic dimensions of war, and there's an informational [dimension]. Mike Pompeo is on diplomatic war-making agenda, and is trying to shore up influence with countries in the former Soviet Union bloc.
Sputnik: How important is Europe for the United States at this moment, and for the Trump administration in particular?
Scott Bennett: Hungary, Poland and these other countries are vital to win because the US, the neo-cons specifically, sees these countries as leveraging and able to push back upon Russia; and, of course, they are trying to develop economic ties and economic dependency, I should say. That's one of the reasons that Pompeo, the neo-cons and the Bolton administration are trying desperately to push President Trump into this antagonistic, offensive attitude. And it also has dimensions in the Iranian de-stabilisation operations, which are upcoming. Let's not forget that they're going to have a conference in Poland to discuss Iran, to exploit the Iranian predicament and try and gear up Western nations, and NATO specifically, into a full support for a potential regime change military operation with Israel, US and NATO forces trying to politically decapitate Iran as they're trying to do to Venezuela.
So I think this is an attempt to win these countries like Hungary so that they will not object to the continuing US imperial regime change ambitions which Pompeo hopes to continue over the next year. But I think we're witnessing, with President Orban, a very clear, firm and uncompromising proclamation that Hungary, among many other nations, will not stand for that sort of a thing. They will not stand to be used, they will not stand to be lectured to or in any way treated like a child at a table with the US being the professorial voice of authority, when in actual reality it has the moral authority based on its previous immoral actions in Venezuela, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
Sputnik: How particularly will the suspension of the INF by the US and subsequently by Russia change the significance of US-Europe relations? Has this really stepped up this sort of race to gain favour with these European countries between the US and Russia?
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.