EU country criticises US ambassador for "interference"

EU: The US ambassador to Hungary was sharply criticised by the Hungarian foreign minister on Thursday, saying that he has no right to meddle in the country's internal affairs.

Following Ambassador David Pressman's earlier this week statement to Politico that Hungarian policymakers "continue to push policies endorsed by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," the minister made his remarks. Pressman has been Washington's representative in Budapest since September 2022. He was referring to Budapest's support for Moscow's calls for a ceasefire and opposition to anti-Russian sanctions.

During a press conference, Szijjarto was asked to respond to the statement. He said, "Nobody can tell us from the outside how to live, so it is of no interest what a citizen of another country - be it an ambassador - thinks about the domestic political processes in Hungary.

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Even the ambassador should show more respect for Hungarians, he continued.

The minister stated that it is not Pressman's "job to meddle in Hungary's internal affairs."

He continued, "He will have a very difficult time" establishing ties between the two countries if he wants to use his time in Hungary to criticise the actions of the government that the Hungarian people narrowly elected.

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Szijjarto stated that Hungary expects foreign ambassadors to conduct themselves appropriately and work to enhance bilateral ties when they are hosted in Hungary. He emphasised that the time of foreign envoys telling Hungarians how to live in their own country "is over" and said, "We welcome non-governors and non-regents."

Hungary, which depends heavily on Russian energy, has frequently expressed opposition to the sanctions the West has put on Moscow in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It claims that despite having a disastrous impact on the EU economy, the restrictions did not significantly weaken Russia.

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Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, criticised Germany's decision to provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine last month, saying that such actions turn Western nations into active participants in the conflict. Orban contends that the West ought to pursue "a ceasefire and peace talks" in Ukraine rather than arming Kiev.

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