Hungarian FM to Blinken: Orbán is a ‘fighter for democracy’

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto in Brussels, Belgium, 27 April 2018. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

The US government does not need to fear for democracy in Hungary, the country’s foreign affairs and trade minister Péter Szijjártó told RTL on Thursday (30 April) in reaction to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments on the deterioration of press freedom in the country, Telex reported.

“We have real concern that is shared by international press freedom advocates and many Hungarians over the decline of the pluralism and diversity and independent voices,” Blinken told Telex.

Blinken alarmed at Hungary press freedom, urges openness

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced alarm Wednesday (28 April) at a deterioration of press freedom in Hungary and vowed to press Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to respect pluralism.

Szijjártó responded in one sentence:

“We are proud that Hungarian history is full of struggles for Hungarian freedom, independence and sovereignty, the Hungarian nation has fought for its own freedom and its own sovereignty, so the American government quite certainly does not need to fear for Hungarian democracy, given that those who acted as decidedly as possible against the Communists are the prime minister, the then-party chairman, who was the first to demand the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary, he is now the prime minister, who is a fighter for democracy, so our American friends certainly do not have to be afraid for democracy because of us and we are proud of that.”

In June 1989, 26-year-old Orbán spoke of the need to start negotiations with Moscow as soon as possible to withdraw Soviet troops. However, the agreement for the withdrawal had been in place for three months at that point, Hungarian state media archives show.

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