Hungary’s foreign minister on Thursday accused the United States ambassador in Budapest of trying to interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs amid a growing diplomatic rift between the US and the Central European country.
At a news conference in Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto lashed out at comments made in Politico this week in which Ambassador David Pressman criticized Hungary’s approach to the war in neighboring Ukraine as “policies supported by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin”. referred to as carry forward.
Szijjarto said that “It is completely irrelevant what (Pressman) or any other ambassador thinks about the domestic political process in Hungary, because it has nothing to do with him.”
“It is not his place to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary,” Széczarto said.
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Pressman, a Biden administration appointee who previously served as the US ambassador to the United Nations for special political affairs, has faced significant roadblocks since taking office in Hungary last August.
Local media loyal to the right-wing government of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban have accused the diplomat of interfering in Hungary’s judiciary and furthering US colonialism.
Since taking office, Pressman has been outspoken about a rising wave of anti-American sentiment in Hungary, and on Orban’s government’s reluctance to join the European Union in imposing sanctions on Moscow for its war in Ukraine. Writing on Twitter in January, Pressman asked, “How do Hungary and Hungarians benefit from protecting Russian oligarchs from sanctions?”
Yet the Hungarian government, which had a cordial relationship with the US administration under former President Donald Trump, insisted the sanctions were hurting European countries more than Russia, and declared that only talks between Moscow and Washington — and not the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine — could bring an end to the war.
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On Thursday, Szijjarto said that if Pressman criticized Budapest’s policies “it would be very difficult” in terms of working effectively to improve cooperation between Hungary and the US.
“That era is over. Hungary is a sovereign country,” said Szijjarto. “No one from the outside can tell us how to live.”
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