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US Ambassador To Budapest: Hungary Should Not Be Criticized Over Its Immigration Policies

By Tamás Székely // 2016.11.21.

Hungary is a sovereign nation state, it has every right to protect its borders and the United States is not in the position to criticize the Hungarian immigration policies, US Ambassador to Budapest Colleen Bell has said in an interview with Hungarian news channel ATV.


US Ambassador Colleen Bell enjoying her visit to Hungary’s Hortobány National Park in October 2015 (photo: MTI)

Hungary, as the external protector of the Schengen zone, was in very difficult situation last year, when so many immigrants crossed the borders; we have not seen such serious migration crisis since the Second World War, Colleen Bell told ATV. Hungary was right when it decided to defend its Southern border, which is also the external border of the Schengen zone, she explained. The US Ambassador has said the Hungarian measures meet both the humanitarian and security requirements, thus the Hungarian government should not be criticized in this respect.

However, one year ago Colleen Bell had a rather different opinion on the Hungarian situation, public news channel M1 points out on its website “We need the stay clear of the perspective, which describes refugees as intruders or some sort of danger”, said citing Bell’s previous remarks. “The Hungarian government treats immigrants as enemies instead of seeking humanitarian solutions and respecting the refugees’ human rights”, she said at a university forum in Budapest at the end of 2015, according to the Hungarian news site.

In her fresh interview with ATV, the US Ambassador also spoke about the case of Ghaith Pharaon, an obscure Saudi businessman, who despited being wanted by FBI, allegedly moved to Hungary to pursue his business interests. “There is no US secret services activity regarding this case”, Bell insisted, adding that “Pharaon is wanted by US authorities and hopefully we will have the opportunity to take him to court.”

In the interview Colleen Bell has once again confirmed earlier press information suggesting that she could possibly discontinue her duty and leave Hungary in early 2017 as a result of the upcoming change in the US administration.

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