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Archive for Hungary

Newsline: Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok tests positive for coronavirus

Health authorities in Thailand said that a Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is believed to have become infected through contact with his country’s foreign minister, who tested positive last week during an abortive official visit. Cambodian officials had also said that Hungary’s ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam had tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of a one-day visit to Cambodia by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Szijjarto was found to be infected when he was tested on arrival in Thailand from Cambodia. The unnamed 53-year-old Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok is the only locally transmitted case in Thailand so far to be linked to Szijjarto. He was described as asymptomatic but tested positive, and was sent to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok’s northern suburbs for treatment. Szijjarto had been sent to the same facility before flying back to Hungary. Sopon Iamsirithaworn, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases of the Department of Disease Control, said the diplomat sat in the same car and had a quick dinner with Szijjarto on the day he arrived in Bangkok. After the foreign minister tested positive, the diplomat was quarantined at home, and transferred to the isolation facility after testing positive. (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/hungarian-diplomat-in-bangkok-tests-positive-for-coronavirus/) The diplomat was not identified by name. However, in response to reporters’ questions, Sopon referred to him as “ambassador.” Hungary’s embassy in Thailand did not reply to questions for further details.

Newsline: US ambassador to Hungary to step down

The US ambassador to Hungary announced that he will step down from his post on November 1, two days before the US presidential election. David Cornstein, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, said in a statement that he had informed the US President and the Hungarian foreign minister of his decision “with a deep sense of pride, as well as some sadness.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/15/politics/us-ambassador-to-hungary-stepping-down/index.html) Cornstein’s statement did not provide a reason for his departure. A former businessman with no diplomatic experience, Cornstein was tapped by Trump for the role and arrived in Budapest in June 2018.

Newsline: Hungary summons German ambassador over EU minister’s anti-Semitism criticism

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned the German ambassador to a Monday meeting to explain remarks by his country’s European Union minister in which he accused Hungary of anti-Semitism, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement on Sunday. Szijjarto rejected the accusations but did not specify where the comments by Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth were published. His spokesman, however, told Reuters that Szijjarto was referring to an interview with website t-online.de published late on Friday in which Roth criticised Hungary and Poland for an erosion of democratic culture and also said one aspect that “led to the Article 7 case against Hungary was rampant anti-semitism in Hungary”. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hungary-germany-diplomacy/hungary-summons-german-ambassador-over-eu-ministers-anti-semitism-criticism-idUSKBN25J0PQ) The EU invoked Article 7 of its governing treaty against Hungary in 2018, having invoked the procedure for the first time against Poland in 2017, for flouting the rule of law. The process could lead to the suspension of their EU voting rights if all other capitals agreed.

Newsline: British embassy diplomat in Budapest, dies from COVID-19

Steven Dick, the deputy head of mission at the British embassy in Budapest, passed away on Tuesday after testing positive for the COVID-19 disease. The Foreign Office said staff were “deeply saddened” by the death of the 37-year-old from the coronavirus, and his parents said he had been “very happy representing our country overseas”. (https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-steven-dick-british-embassy-diplomat-in-budapest-dies-from-covid-19-11963640) In a statement, Steven and Carol Dick said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. “It was always his dream to work for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas. We are devastated by his loss and ask for privacy at this tragic time.”

Newsline: Hungary draws up plans to upgrade diplomatic ties with Syria

Hungary is drawing up plans to upgrade diplomatic relations with Syria, a move that will anger influential EU members who have sought to keep their distance from the Damascus regime. Budapest has for months been working on a proposal to send a chargé d’affaires back to Syria, according to diplomats in Brussels and Beirut, which would be a precursor to reopening its closed embassy eventually. While a few European capitals kept up diplomatic ties during the seven-year conflict, this would be the first time an EU member state has moved towards reopening a shuttered embassy in Syria. (https://www.ft.com/content/837adb10-d3bb-11e9-a0bd-ab8ec6435630) Many EU members strongly oppose normalising relations with the Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian regime by dispatching envoys to Syria. One European diplomat in Beirut called Hungary’s proposed move “very annoying”.

Newsline: Hungarian Foreign Minister rules out embassy move to Jerusalem

Hungary’s Embassy in Israel will remain in Tel Aviv and will not be moved to Jerusalem, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the Israel Hayom daily in an interview that was published on Mar. 20, a day after his country dedicated a new commercial office in Jerusalem. (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/hungarian-fm-embassy-in-israel-will-not-be-moved-to-jerusalem-1.7042107) Hungary has not changed its overall approach regarding the location of the embassy in Tel Aviv, the foreign minister said. His country’s position, he added, is to maintain international law and to conform its stance to that of the European Union, of which Hungary is a member.

Newsline: Hungary’s ambassador to the Vatican, Habsburg with a Twitter account

Eduard Habsburg is a Hungarian-German writer, diplomat and social media personality who has served since 2015 as ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta. A great-great-grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph, he is also known as Archduke Eduard of Austria. Ambassador Habsburg and his wife, Baroness Maria Theresia von Gudenus, have six children. According to the 2011 Hungarian census, roughly 81 percent of Hungarians today identify as Christians, with Catholics representing the largest Christian group (50 percent) more than two decades after the fall of Communism. In recent years, Hungary has taken up the call of Pope Francis to aid persecuted Christians around the world, hosting government conferences and creating a new Secretary of State for Persecuted Christians.

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/11/05/habsburg-twitter-account-interview-hungarys-ambassador-vatican

Newsline: Estonia reopens embassy in Hungary

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reopened the Estonian embassy in Budapest. The ministry announced the step on social media on Monday, saying that starting 5 November the embassy is offering consular services again. The embassy is providing consular services and assistance starting 5 November. Anyone who would like their documents issued there can indicate so on the application form, the ministry said. Consular services are available by advance appointment. The ministry previously closed the embassy in Budapest in July 2014 following the closing of the Hungarian embassy in Tallinn. The latter was replaced by a diplomatic representation at the Hungarian Culture Institute in Tallinn at the time.

https://news.err.ee/874609/estonia-reopens-embassy-in-hungary

Newsline: Hungary Expels Ukrainian Consul in Tit-For-Tat Retaliation

Hungary is expelling a Ukrainian consul in retaliation against Ukraine’s expulsion of a Hungarian consul, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced. Earlier, Ukraine’s foreign ministry declared a Hungarian consul serving in Beregszász (Berehove) persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country within 72 hours. Hungary and Ukraine have been locked in a diplomatic row over dual citizenship ever since hidden camera footage showing the Hungarian consul conducting a Hungarian naturalisation ceremony for Ukrainian citizens at the consulate appeared online. Szijjártó stressed that Hungary will continue to block Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO and the EU. He told a press conference that the foreign ministry had summoned Ukraine’s ambassador to Hungary and told her that a consul working at the embassy would have to leave Hungary within 72 hours.

https://hungarytoday.hu/hungary-expels-ukrainian-consul-in-tit-for-tat-retaliation/

Newsline: Hungary summons Spanish ambassador over xenophobia charge

Hungary’s foreign ministry has summoned the Spanish ambassador over comments made by the Spanish foreign minister that labelled Hungary as xenophobic. According to the Hungarian ministry, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell also said recently that there was no separation of powers in Hungary and no free press, describing the county as a “pseudo-democracy.” Hungarian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Levente Magyar said that Borrell’s comments were “offensive and harsh” and exceed an acceptable level of criticism in Europe. He added that Borrell is scheduled to visit Budapest at the end of October.

https://www.tampabay.com/ap/world/hungary-summons-spanish-ambassador-over-xenophobia-charge-ap_worlde9f8b0c612ca44708e40c362f80dc2c7