The US ambassador to Hungary has advised the Viktor Orban government to abandon its policy of maintaining an equal distance between the Kremlin and its NATO partners.
The USA calls to clarify who Hungary is for
Hungary has reached a critical juncture in deciding its future course, the US embassy in Budapest stated in a statement following a meeting between Ambassador David Pressman and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on March 10. The moment is now for Hungary and its transatlantic allies and partners to strengthen their connection due to Russia’s illegitimate war raging next door.
Senior Hungarian officials’ anti-American remarks and the prevalent anti-American sentiment in the government-controlled media have caused the US to grow more concerned.
Pressman and human rights in Hungary
Pressman, a lawyer for LGBT human rights, has encountered resistance ever since he surrendered his qualifications in September 2022. According to the US envoy, Budapest’s appeal for peace ought to be addressed to Putin rather than to both sides.
Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, has harshly criticized the diplomat for criticizing Hungary’s stance on the conflict. Szijjarto stated that it is neither his business nor his responsibility to meddle in Hungary’s internal affairs. “What he or any other ambassador thinks about domestic political processes in Hungary is entirely irrelevant,” he added.
Also, the 48-year-old diplomat has been the target of a smear campaign by pro-government media due to his sexual orientation.
There will be no funding for Hungary without the right position
According to Hungarian foreign policy experts, the meeting in Washington should serve as a wake-up call for Viktor Orban, the country’s strongman who has positioned himself as a neutral party in the Ukraine war. In the EU, he is known as Vladimir Putin’s Trojan horse due to his efforts to obstruct sanctions and military and economic aid to Ukraine.
Hungary is still the only member of the EU to have rejected Nato’s extension to include Sweden and Finland, infuriating the military alliance.
In a dispute over the RRF and cohesion fund funding, the Orban administration lost all support in the EU and Washington.
According to experts, the Hungarian prime minister is betting on a Republican win in 2024. President Katalin Novak met with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a strong ally of Orban, in Tallahassee while White House officials talked about Hungary’s “betrayal.”
According to Istvan Szent-Ivanyi, a former liberal MP, MEP, and state secretary of the foreign ministry in the 1990s, the statement addresses the concerns of the US administration with an exceptional level of frankness and sincerity in diplomatic discourse.
According to American journalist Miklos Radvanyi, born in Hungary, this is a demanding request for the prime minister. The statement’s tone and content indicate that they raised red flags in Washington. The message is that they are tired of Orban’s shuttlecock approach, which signals to the Hungarian leadership that there would be significant political, economic, and financial repercussions if it does not join the ranks of allies.
Pressman’s remarks were deemed surprising by the foreign minister of Hungary’s first democratically elected government following the coup. Before 1990, according to Geza Jeszenszky, most Hungarians were anti-Soviet and firmly pro-American. EU and NATO members have ensured the security of Hungary’s economy and armed forces. While there is zero condemnation of the aggressor, the former diplomat said statements by Hungarian officials directed at the United States and directly against Pressman are wrong.
Photo: MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd