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Archive for Hungary

Newsline: Hungary summons top US diplomat over civil society remarks

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned the US charge d’affaires, Andre Goodfriend, to discuss comments made recently by US President Barack Obama about the situation of civil society in Hungary. Deputy state secretary at the ministry Levente Magyar told Goodfriend that the Hungarian government believed US statements regarding civil society in Hungary were “lacking factual basis”. US statements which offer a distorted image and portray a single legal procedure as if it were an intimidation of the civil sector will not help fact-based dialogue, which Hungary advocates, but gives way to being interpreted as political pressure, the statement said. Goodfriend told ATV that it was the US embassy in Budapest that supplied the US administration with information about the situation of civil society in Hungary. In an address given recently at a conference, US President Barack Obama mentioned Hungary among countries which restrict civil society.


Newsline: Estonia closing Budapest embassy

Estonia will close its embassy in Budapest, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet announced in Tallinn, saying this is the appropriate step. Hungary announced two weeks ago that it will close its embassies in Tallinn and Nicosia this year. The Estonian embassy will continue to function until September 30.


Newsline: Hungary dismayed as Romania bars new consulates

Romania has rejected Hungary’s application to open consular offices in Oradea (Hungarian name: Nagyvárad) and Targu Mures (Marosvásárhely). A spokeswoman for Hungary’s Foreign Ministry said the decision is “incomprehensible” because Romania has not given any substantive explanation and Hungary has never rejected a similar request by a foreign country. She said the decision went against European practices. Hungary has an embassy in Bucharest and consulates in Miercurea Ciuc (Csíkszereda) and Cluj (Kolozsvár).


Newsline: Hungary Reopens Embassy In Santiago De Chile

Foreign Minister János Martonyi paid an official visit to Chile between January 5 and 7 and reopened the Hungarian embassy in Santiago de Chile. Martonyi also held talks with Chilean counterpart Alfredo Moreno Charme and expressed thanks for keeping the Chilean embassy in Budapest open despite the closing of the Hungarian one in Chile in 2009, a statement by the ministry said. Martonyi told Moreno that Hungary was paying increased attention to the Latin American region as part of its global opening and plans to strengthen cooperation with countries of the region in the areas of the economy, science and education.


Newsline: US Soap Opera Producer Tapped for Top Diplomatic Post

President Barack Obama has nominated one of his top fundraisers in Hollywood to be the next U.S. ambassador to Hungary, the White House announced. Obama’s new choice for the job? Colleen Bell, a producer for Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc., the company behind the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Last year, Bell and her husband, Bradley Bell, hosted two campaign fundraising events at their home in Los Angeles that Obama personally attended. One was a reception with about 1,000 supporters that featured a musical performance by the Foo Fighters. The other was a more intimate dinner party with about 80 people attending where tickets cost $35,800 per person, according to the White House press pool report. All told, Bell helped raise at least $500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts, according to a voluntary disclosure by the Obama campaign. Documents obtained by the New York Times put the total at more than $2 million. Bell ranks as the 23rd major campaign bundler to be nominated for an ambassadorship since January, according to research by the Center for Public Integrity. Collectively, these moneymen and women raised more than $16 million for Obama since he launched his first presidential campaign in 2007.


Newsline: Lithuanian ambassadors to Azerbaijan, Hungary fired after phone conversation posted on YouTube

Two high-ranking Lithuanian diplomats were fired Thursday after their telephone conversations criticizing the president and insulting the countries where they served were secretly recorded and uploaded to YouTube. The country’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, Arunas Zurauskas, and its ambassador to Hungary, Nerijus Juska, will be removed from duty by September 30, President Dalia Grybauskaite’s office said. Four telephone conversations between the two diplomats were posted on YouTube in July. In the recording, the ambassadors criticized and joked with each other about Grybauskaite, the prime minister and Azerbaijan and Hungary. Among other things, they made sarcastic comments about Grybauskaite’s choice to fly low-cost airlines on official trips. It is not clear who recorded the calls and uploaded them to the site. The accounts used to post the sound clips were created the same day and removed shortly after the scandal broke. Earlier this month, Grybauskaite acknowledged that the conversations were “very unprofessional” and immature.


Newsline: Australia To Shut Down Embassy In Budapest

Australia’s embassy in Budapest will close as part of budget cuts to foreign affairs. As the Australian government prepares to deliver a multi-billion dollar deficit in Tuesday’s budget, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said his department will share in the cutbacks. “The most significant one is closing one embassy, that’s the embassy in Budapest,” he told ABC radio on Monday. Plans to open a diplomatic post in the Senegal capital Dakar also have been put on the backburner.