U.S. Ambassador Bell denies reports she is stepping down
U.S. Ambassador for Hungary Colleen Bell today denied a report in the Hungarian daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet that she is planning to step down from her position in the foreseeable future, according to a press statement sent to the BBJ.
Bell noted that the Hungarian daily had not sought the embassy’s reaction prior to the publication of the article. Bell said if the paper had done so, it would have been informed “about the truth”.
In the embassy statement Bell says she has been gladly serving her country as ambassador in Budapest, and would continue as long as it is possible.
Citing unnamed sources, Magyar Nemzet claimed earlier today that Bell would be standing down from her post after Novemberʼs U.S. presidential elections, regardless of the outcome. The daily claimed that Bell has already decided to leave, having tired of trying to improve Hungarian-American relations.
The newspaper suggested that Bell would leave her position at the beginning of next year, or early spring at the latest, and that David Kostelancik, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary, would be taking over on a temporary basis as chargé d’affaires.
Bell was first nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama on November 6, 2013, but her approval by the Senate was delayed until December 2, 2014, as she became one of a number of ambassadors whose appointments were put on hold by the ongoing impasse between Republicans and Democrats.
Bell arrived in Budapest on January 19, 2015 – ending the 18-month absence of an American ambassador – and presented her credentials to Hungary’s President János Áder a few days later.
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