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U.S. urges Hungary not to block Ukraine’s NATO engagement

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein has spoken at a meeting of parliament’s Foreign Committee, covering issues such as the move of the Central European University, the dispute with Ukraine, as well as defense cooperation and energy security, according to a transcript of the ambassador’s speech sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein

Cornstein urged that Hungary repair relations with neighboring Ukraine and not try to block Kiev’s cooperation with NATO. The ambassador warned that “if Ukraine fails, Hungary will be on the front line of Russian aggression".

Referring to diplomatic row between Budapest and Kiev over Ukraine’s proposed law on the language used in education, the ambassador said NATO is not an organization designed to mediate disputes about ethnic minorities, languages, or schools.

On the CEU, Cornstein said: "We made no secret of the fact that we thought CEU’s departure was bad for Hungary. Resolving this dispute was a one of my top U.S. priorities and was part of my daily discussions with Hungarian government counterparts at all levels. I am truly saddened to see CEU leave."

Cornstein also emphasized the importance of Hungary’s diversity in energy security. “No country can be secure in its energy supply when all its imports come from a single source, and we support Hungary in its efforts to reduce its dependence on Russia in the gas, oil, and nuclear sectors” he said.

In terms of trade and investment, the ambassador said he plans to work further to enhance U.S.-Hungarian business ties.

Foreign Ministry State Secretary Levente Magyar told the parliamentary committee that the differences between the U.S. and Hungary were not strategic, and said he hoped dialogue would help rectify them, according to Reuters.