Washington urges Hungary to heed democratic obligations

The alliance between the United States and central Europe is built on shared values and Washington will not shy away from reminding its partners of their duty to protect and advance democracy, a US official said on Thursday in Washington.

Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State, said the US administration was buoyed by Hungary’s consultations with European bodies which have led to “some positive changes”.“We have engaged in vigorous discussions about troubling efforts to weaken institutional checks-and-balances within the government, the cumbersome and politicized registration process for recognizing religions, and the importance of preserving the integrity and independence of the judiciary and free press,” Gordon told the US-Central Europe Strategy Forum at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

“We are encouraged that Hungary continues to consult on these issues with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, a process that has already led to some positive changes. We also urge the Hungarian government to have a dialogue on these matters with civil society, as we believe that a strong democracy depends on a transparent and inclusive political process.” On the subject of Hungary’s involvement in the repatriation of an Azeri convicted for murdering an Armenian during a NATO course held in Hungary, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Gordon as saying at the CEPA forum that the US was “not satisfied” with explanations from Baku and Budapest.

“Washington continues to express ‘dismay and disappointment’ to Budapest about its decision to release Ramil Safarov to Baku,” RFE/RL said.

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