Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the NATO summit - Photo: PMO

Szijjarto: ‘Hungary not obliged to take lies, even from the US president’

Hungary's government on Tuesday summoned the US ambassador over President Joe Biden's recent remark on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the foreign minister said, insisting that "we are not obliged to take lies from anyone, even if that person is the President of the United States."
12. March 2024 18:28

At the briefing held on a different diplomatic event, Peter Szijjarto was asked about Biden attributing to Orbán words that suggested that the Hungarian prime minister didn’t think democracy worked, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Since such a lie has been said in connection with the Hungarian prime minister, we summoned the ambassador of the United States to the ministry, who was here today,” Szijjarto said. “He was received by deputy minister Levente Magyar and we asked the ambassador to present to us the quote, and the time and place the prime minister allegedly made such a statement.”

“As such a statement was obviously not made, we could not get any meaningful answer,” the minister said.

He said that a reference made by the US ambassador to the official US position that Hungary was “building a dictatorship” made it extremely difficult to further build Hungarian-US relations, arguing that such a suggestion “is an offence not to the government, but to the country”.

Szijjarto said that the prime minister and the government were leading the country with a mandate received from Hungarian voters. “We won four general elections in a row, in which the people set for us the direction of governing and we are now executing this [task].”

“So this is a very serious offence we flatly reject … so we summoned the ambassador; and this kind of mindset of an American president, and the Democratic administration is a heavy burden on our bilateral relations,” the minister said.

Commenting on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remark that the Hungarian government was “playing a very dangerous game” with Russia, Szijjarto said it was the war itself that was dangerous, as it leads to a loss of life and a risk of escalation.

“And we don’t want this war to spread any further, since we live right here in its neighbourhood, and if the war spreads further, we will be directly endangered by it,” Szijjarto said. “So we will continue to do everything in the interest of there being peace in our neighbouring country.”

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