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Gruevski asylum critics ‘identical‘ to migration backers - claims Orbán

Those people who attack Hungary for granting asylum to fugitive former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski are "identical" to those people and organizations that support migration, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview on public radio on Friday.

Orbán (left) with Gruevski (photo by Miniszterelnok.hu)

The organizations most critical of the Hungarian government regarding the case are all organizations of U.S. billionaire George Soros, Orbán told government-controlled Kossuth Radio, as reported by state news wire MTI.

As prime minister of Macedonia, Gruevski led a country that played a key role in combatting migration, and without him it would have been far harder to protect the Hungarian border, Orbán said. He     claimed that Gruevski took tough action against "Soros networks" in Macedonia, which is why they are "keeping track of him."

Orbán added that Gruevski and his country have always been viewed as Hungary’s allies.

"Allies should be treated with decency, and when they turn to us, they deserve decent treatment," the prime minister said.

Last week, Gruevski revealed he has been granted political asylum in Hungary, a week after he fled his country to avoid serving a two-year jail sentence for a corruption conviction. According to information confirmed by Albanian police, Gruevski used a car owned by the Embassy of Hungary in Albania to escape.

Orbán claimed that the asylum procedure in Hungary is not conducted by the government but by the authorities and "the more distance the government keeps from such procedures the better."

"We are not influenced by the procedures in Macedonia," he said. "What we are interested in is whether the request submitted to us is legally sound, whether the authorities carried out a fair procedure and acted lawfully. Once a decision is made, it must be respected."

Commenting on the extradition request for Gruevski submitted by Macedonia, he said Macedonia must also follow a legal procedure. The Hungarian authorities will assess this and come to a decision, he was cited as saying by MTI.