12:21 GMT03 August 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed strengthening US-Hungary security relations and European energy diversification during his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement.

    "Pompeo met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest today to discuss US-Hungary bilateral relations, including ongoing US efforts to bolster the US-Hungary security relationship, counter Russian aggression, and strengthen NATO", Palladino said on Monday.

    The two politicians also discussed the need for Central European energy diversification, EU integration for the Western Balkans, and the Transatlantic relationship, he added.

    Earlier in the day, Pompeo announced after a meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto that the two countries have reached a defense cooperation agreement.

    READ MORE: EU's Breakthrough Decision on Nord Stream 2: Key Points

    Pompeo also said during a joint press conference with Szijjarto that the United States aims to increase its presence and "positive influence" in Central Europe through new cultural, economic and security initiatives.

    Pompeo noted Washington’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, saying that the issue is not about simply selling gas, but it is a matter of national security.

    The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia to a hub in Germany while entirely bypassing Ukraine. The project is a joint venture of the Russian energy giant Gazprom with France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall and the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

    READ MORE: Pros and Cons: 'Unstoppable' Nord Stream 2 Dividing EU Into Two Camps

    Washington has been strongly opposing the project. In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced the belief that US President Donald Trump was seeking to force Russia out of the European energy market so that the United States could sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe. Moscow has also repeatedly reiterated that the pipeline is a purely commercial project.


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