Budapest, October 23 (MTI) – Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said the Hungarian government is open to investigating corruption allegations raised by the United States, which has issued entry bans against several Hungarian officials.
In an interview published online by USA Today on Wednesday, Szijjarto said, however, that “US diplomats have not been forthcoming about the details behind those charges”.
It said that Szijjarto stated clearly that he wanted to move beyond “the diplomatic dust-up” between Hungary and the United States.
“I want to take (allegations) seriously. I don’t want to go into (a) fight because of that,” Szijjarto said during a meeting with the paper’s editorial board.
Szijjarto told the board that the friction between the two countries triggered a “huge internal political debate” in Hungary.
Szijjarto complained that his government had received no details from the US about the entry ban decision.
“We don’t know how many of them and who and why,” he said.
Szijjarto, who held talks in Washington, DC on Tuesday, told the paper that the State Department had not provided those details, citing confidentiality of visa records. But in the Wednesday statement, it said proof was “readily available” from watchdog non-government agencies in Hungary, whistle-blowers and “a range of civil society groups charged with upholding government transparency.”
Andre Goodfriend, the charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Budapest, said earlier this week that six Hungarians are affected by the entry ban to the United States on suspicion of corruption. All six people are government employees or affiliated with the government, he said.
The diplomat told a roundtable organised by the embassy on Monday that they had first contacted the foreign ministry about this matter on Oct. 6. He confirmed that he had not shared any names with state secretary Levente Magyar at the time, adding that the people involved would be contacted directly.
Photo: MTI/Tamas Szemann
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