US ambassador’s views on Hungary ‘irrelevant’, says minister


BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian foreign minister accused the US ambassador in Budapest on Thursday of trying to interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs amid a growing diplomatic dispute between the United States and the Central European country.

At a news conference in Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto criticized comments in Politico this week in which Ambassador David Pressman referred to the Hungarian approach to the war in neighboring Ukraine as furthering “policies backed by ( Russian President Vladimir) Putin”.

Szijjarto said it is “completely irrelevant what (Pressman) or any other ambassador thinks about the internal political process in Hungary, because it has nothing to do with it.”

“It is not for him to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary,” Szijjarto said.

Pressman, a Biden administration appointee who previously served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs, has faced significant obstacles since taking office in Hungary in August last year.

Local media loyal to the right-wing government of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban have accused the diplomat of meddling in Hungary’s judiciary and promoting US colonialism.

Since taking office, Pressman has spoken about a rising tide of anti-American sentiment in Hungary and about the Orban government’s reluctance to join the European Union in imposing sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine. Writing on Twitter in January, Pressman asked: “How do you protect Russian oligarchs from sanctions on Hungary and Hungarians?”

However, Hungary’s government, which was friendly with the US administration under former President Donald Trump, has insisted that the sanctions are hurting European countries more than Russia, saying that only negotiations between Moscow and Washington , and not the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. — can end the war.

On Thursday, Szijjarto said that Pressman “would have a very difficult job in terms of working effectively to improve cooperation” between Hungary and the United States if he criticized Budapest’s policies.

“That era is over. Hungary is a sovereign country,” Szijjarto said. “Nobody from the outside can tell us how to live.”


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