Washington, DC, February 5 (MTI) – Ways of deepening US-Hungarian security policy and economic cooperation have been discussed by Foreign Ministry Political Director Szabolcs Takacs and travelling ambassador for international business development, Daniel Mendelenyi, at talks with US officials in Washington, DC and New York in the past few days.
“The visit targeted areas where cooperation between the US and Hungary is very positive and successful. One such area is bilateral business and trade ties and the other is international foreign policy and security policy, where Hungary has also been contributing to US diplomatic efforts, for instance in relations with Syria, Afghanistan and Iran,” Takacs told MTI over the phone from New York on Tuesday local time.
Takacs met at the US Department of State in Washington, DC Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Gerald Feierstein and Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan-Pakistan Laurel Miller. He also met Lyn Debevoise, Director for Eastern European Affairs at the White House.
“The US negotiating partners expressed great appreciation of Hungary’s dedication to Afghanistan, despite our reservations and the fact that we are there with a hundred-member contingent,” he said.
“Both American and UN officials believe it’s very important that the international community’s dedication to completing Afghan settlement should be maintained because what’s at stake is the return of ten years of material investment and other sacrifices,” he added.
In the UN, he held talks with Virginia Gamba, Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and Herve Ladsous, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
“In connection with Syria, I said we are not completely satisfied with the current composition of the Syrian opposition coalition because it is not sufficiently inclusive or representative. Despite this, we support the Geneva II process and hope that the opposition coalition will increasingly incorporate groups that are especially important for us, such as Christian and secular groups,” he said.
Takacs said he also highlighted the effects of the Syrian crisis on Europe and Hungary, including migration and non-conventional security challenges.
Syrian chemical weapons, the Iranian nuclear programme and the international peacekeeping efforts were discussed at the talks in the UN headquarters in New York, he added.
He noted that Hungary was co-coordinator for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) since September and last year Hungary acted as coordinator for the agreement to ban chemical weapons involving 170 countries.
“These are important elements of the global opening in Hungary’s foreign policy,” Takacs said. He noted that 77 Hungarian soldiers are involved in peacekeeping efforts in Cyprus, 7 in the Western Saharan mission, and 4 in Lebanon.
Mendelenyi said Hungary’s efforts for international business development aim to help small and medium-sized companies access the market, to promote job creation and to attract capital in the SME sector, especially in start-up ventures. Preparations have been started with Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Regional Administrator for the US Small Business Administration, to start cooperation with Hungary, he added.
He said he visited a venture capital company which has considerable experience with small Hungarian technology companies, and held talks with a Hungarian-US firm in which the majority Hungarian ownership had been preserved up to the period before its introduction in the stock exchange.
“A financial investment fund is already planning a concrete business deal and is ready to invest up to 250 million dollars in Hungary in 2014,” he added.
He declined to name the companies involved, citing the risk of losing business positions.