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Orbán to meet Trump in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to meet in Washington D.C., Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told pro-government news site origo.hu on Thursday.

U.S. President Donald Trump pictured at the NATO summit in Brussels in July 2018, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán standing behind (photo: Gints Ivuskans/Shutterstock)

The meeting will take place on May 13. According to Szijjártó, the trip will be a "working visit," including negotiations about subjects including energy security, defense cooperation, bilateral relations, and regional security.

According to foreignpolicy.com, by inviting Orbán, Trump is making an effort to counter the influence of China and Russia in Hungary.

The invitation is in line with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeoʼs comments made during his February visit to Hungary. Back then, Pompeo noted that the U.S. has been a "no show" in the region for a long time and promised that the Trump administration will pursue a closer relationship with countries in the region, in what he regarded as a shift from the policies of the Obama administration.

Back in February, Pompeo also called attention to the potential division Russia is seeking to widen between the region’s NATO countries with its activities in Ukraine, while noting the importance of freedom and civil society to counter the authoritarian tendencies of Russia and China.

Pointedly, Pompeo also met with representatives of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union during his visit, both organizations that have been among the NGOs targeted repeatedly by Hungaryʼs government in recent times.

The last Hungarian prime minister to visit the White House was Ferenc Gyurcsány in 2005, noted pbs.org, the website of the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service. The site also observed that despite Orbánʼs early advocacy for Trump (being the first national leader in the European Union to endorse the candidate in the 2016 U.S. election campaign), he will be the last of the leaders of the Visegrád Group, which also includes Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to meet with Trump at the White House.