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Bell: ‘Anti-refugee rhetoric’ not helping the crisis

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Hungary’s “anti-refugee rhetoric” that can be heard and read in the newspapers in the country “does not help the situation at all”, U.S. Ambassador for Hungary Colleen Bell said in an interview with Hungarian online daily origo.hu yesterday, commenting on the refugee crisis that Europe currently faces.

“Moreover, it does not represent Hungarian people. Hungarians I know are hospitable, caring, generous and compassionate,” the ambassador said.

According to Bell (pictured) it is Hungary’s “sovereign right” to decide on the means of protecting its border. Still, she added: “We support the European Union, with Hungary in it, to find a comprehensive and unified point of view for this extraordinarily difficult situation.”

“I know that the refugee crisis is a very complex and dynamic issue,” Bell said, adding that since her arrival in January, she has been in connection with the Hungarian government, non-governmental organizations and also the public on the matter. “I did not speak directly to Hungary’s prime minister [Viktor Orbán] about the issue, but I am regularly in contact with foreign minister Péter Szijjártó and other representatives of the government,” she said.

U.S. committed to fighting corruption

The ambassador said she cannot comment on the resignation of former tax chief Ildikó Vida, who has been banned entry to the United States on suspicion of corruption practices, however she did say that “the United States is still committed to fight against corruption in places where it is needed.” Bell added that the United States is ready to use “banning entry as a tool, if there is enough evidence for corruption practices”.

Commenting on the economic ties of Hungary and the United States, she said that “they have been strong for decades, which is a great success”. However, the Unites States still “pleads a cause for a healthy investment sentiment,” for which “predictability, correctness and transparency is needed in the country”.

According to the ambassador, many U.S. firms in Hungary are “very satisfied with their experiences”, but “some current and future investors say that they would like to see predictability and stability on the market. They want balanced game rules. These are important for future foreign investment as well.”

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