Ms. Katalin Szili, Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Visits U.S. and meets with Manhattan Hungarian Network - Sept 23, 2004

September 23, 2004

The Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, Ms. Katalin Szili, is on a week-long visit to the U.S. Earlier this week in New York, she participated at the Annual Award Dinner of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation at the invitation of Rabbi Arthur Schneier, and met with businesspeople and members of the Manhattan Hungarian Network.

In Washington, D.C., she met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and NSC Senior Director Ambassador Daniel Fried. She had talks in Congress with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Committee on International Relations chairman Henry Hyde, and Ranking Minority Member Tom Lantos. She also met with representatives of the local Hungarian-American community. She discussed with her interlocutors questions related to Hungary's visa situation. She had an exchange of views on the human rights situation in the West Balkans, including in the Vojvodina region of Serbia. Ms. Szili also spoke about Hungary's role in the stabilization and democratization of Iraq, including Hungary's presence in Iraq and its contribution to the coalition.

In Houston yesterday, Ms. Szili met with the Speaker of the of Texas House of Representatives, Mr. Thomas Craddick. Ms. Szili and Mr. Craddick discussed business opportunities between Texas and Hungary. Ms. Szili invited the Texas Speaker to visit Hungary and Mr. Craddick, in his turn, asked Ms. Szili to act as Texas' goodwill ambassador in Europe.

She gave a speech to Houston's business and opinion leaders at a World Affairs Council lunch about Hungary and bilateral relations with the U.S. In the afternoon, she opened Hungary's new honorary consulate in Houston and presented the new honorary consul, Mr. Phillip Aronoff, with the honorary consular commission. A representative of the Houston City Council, present at the opening ceremony, presented Ms. Szili with a document proclaiming her an honorary citizen of Houston.

In Austin, Ms. Szili had lunch with the Chairman of the Board of the Regions of the University of Texas and met with Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott. She also visited Sematech, a leading Texas high-tech company.

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