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Hungary welcomes Bush visa pledge

Hungary's Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz welcomed on Thursday President George W. Bush's pledge to abolish the US visa requirement for new EU members.

Bush said at the NATO summit in Riga that he would recommend to Congress that the visa regime be withdrawn for all 10 new EU members. Göncz said the US president's announcement came as a surprise. She said it paid testament to the tireless lobbying of the Visegrád Four countries (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) along with the six other states. The European Commission had also committed itself to the principle of commonality throughout the EU, she added.
"With this strategy the hope is there that the US Senate may make some sort of amendments to the set of criteria for a visa waiver," said Göncz, adding that Hungary's diplomacy would also lobby for a change.