Hungarian Minister of Defense Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky (L), Head of USAID Samantha Power, US Ambassador David Pressman, Justice Minister Judit Varga, and Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament.
The US Ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, received Minister of Justice Judit Varga, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Minister of Defense, Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament, and Samantha Power, Head of USAID – US Agency for International Development, at his private residence in Budapest.
The meeting was a breath of fresh air amid frosty relations with the US ambassador, who is known to have criticized the Hungarian government. Most recently, David Pressman told Politico at the beginning of February that “Political leaders in the government of Hungary often speak of promoting peace, but — from condemning sanctions to embracing Russian ‘cease-fire’ proposals — they continue to push policies endorsed by Putin.”
Reacting to that, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that Pressman “has no business interfering in Hungary’s internal affairs, and if he wants to use his time in Hungary to criticize the actions of a government that was elected by a fairly clear majority of the Hungarian people and has the authority of the Hungarian people, he will have a very difficult time working effectively to improve cooperation between the two countries.” The Foreign Minister also asked for more respect to be shown towards Hungarians.
David Pressman has been serving in Budapest since September 2022, and has met with several government officials and politicians, many from the opposition, including the Mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony. However, he has not yet had a chance to sit down with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
The major point of the weekend meeting with government officials was a constructive continuation of the US-Hungarian alliance, the ambassador wrote on his social media page, since the two countries cooperate in many areas despite their differences. Pressman wrote of the meeting that it was an honor for him to welcome his guests.
As it was already mentioned, the meeting was also attended by Samantha Power, the head of USAID, a major US government aid distributor. However, while she reported her visit to Budapest on her social media page, she did not disclose the fact that she had visited the ambassador and met with government officials. Instead, she only posted on Twitter that she had met with Hungarian journalists, among others, to discuss media freedom. As she wrote, “a free and diverse press is a cornerstone of democracy, and in Hungary, independent journalists are facing real challenges.”
She also did not fail to mention that she had met with Hungarian students, as well as representatives of NGOs, such as the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary, who usually criticize the government and support any lobby that is against the major ideologies of the Fidesz government.
Featured photo via Twitter/David Pressman