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NATO ambassadors discuss PM Orbán’s meeting with Putin

October 21st, 2023

The pro-government daily rejects the security concerns expressed by the US ambassador after PM Orbán met President Putin of Russia earlier this week.

In an unprecedented move, the ambassadors of NATO member countries and Sweden (whose NATO membership is pending) met at the US embassy in Budapest on Thursday to discuss the Hungarian-Russian summit (see BudaPost, October 20). US Ambassador David Pressman told the press that they have ‘security concerns’ over the ‘deepening relationship’ between Russia and Hungary. Mr Pressman added that Washington expects these ‘legitimate security concerns’ to be taken seriously by the Hungarian government.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szőcs describes such concerns as unfounded, as Hungary has condemned Russia’s aggression in Ukraine just as other NATO countries have done. Szőcs also repeats allegations previously published in Magyar Nemzet, in which Mr Pressman is accused of having helped exempt a Russian oligarch from US sanctions in his previous capacity as a lawyer working for an attorneys’ office. (The US embassy replied that Mr Pressman never accepted payment from Russian oligarchs.) As to the meeting of the ambassadors, Szőcs recalls that in 2021, seven years after Russia annexed the Crimea, President Biden shook hands with Putin. Mr Pressman and the other ambassadors, ‘who looked like a bunch of shallow wusses’, Szőcs writes, consider that handshake was a matter of national interest, while condemning ‘the leader of NATO’s Hunnia province’ for meeting with the leader of a world power. ‘We will wait it out’, he concludes, until early 2025 (when the new US President will be sworn in), at which time the US ambassador ‘will return to his business with Russian oligarchs’.

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