Réka Szemerkényi, an economist, political scientist and politician, has been Hungary’s Ambassador to the United States since 2015. She served as State Secretary for Foreign Policy. She worked as a Senior National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán from 1998 to 2002.
Mrs. Szemerkényi gave an interview a few days ago (see a summary here). Let me summarize the most interesting points:
- President Donald J. Trump has a “very positive” opinion of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and negotiations about a possible meeting of the two leaders are under way.
- She has already met with almost half of the U.S. government and the relationships have been so good that other embassies in the United States have asked her for advice and contacts.
- She has met and has spoken with President Trump three times since he was inaugurated less a month ago. Out of more than a hundred ambassadors to the USA , only six were invited to that round table talk where she met President Trump last time.
- She has met Vice President Mike Pence.
- She has had talks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions three times. She has also met Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Hungary has been “at the back of the queue” in Washington DC since 2001 when PM Orbán’s first government decided to buy new Swedish Grippen JAS-39 fighter jets instead of second-hand F-16’s under the presidency of George W. Bush. The relations became particularly bad during the last few years of the Obama administration, especially when the US embassy to Hungary was run by Charge d’Affairs Andre Goodfriend who directly meddled in Hungarian domestic politics.
Now it seems we’re getting to the “front of the queue”. 🙂