US ambassador: Hungary has right to protect its borders
Budapest, December 5 (MTI) – The United States understands that as a sovereign nation, Hungary has the right to protect its borders, US Ambassador Colleen Bell said in an interview to public news channel M1 broadcast on Saturday.
The ambassador said that since the migrant crisis is a global one, the US is not in a position to prescribe a solution for it.
“The migration crisis is a global crisis. It’s particularly challenging here in Europe,” the ambassador said. She said the US knows that Hungary is among the countries that have been most challenged by the crisis, as it lies on the periphery of the Schengen zone.
“Processing all of these individuals coming through, in compliance with the Dublin Agreement, was extremely difficult for Hungary and we understand that,” she added.
Bell said the US does not intend to criticise Hungary’s choices in trying to manage the migrant crisis, but it does support the European Union’s efforts to come up with a “comprehensive and unified approach to this crisis”. She added that the US reminds every country of the importance of ensuring the safety of refugees and treating them humanely and with dignity.
“Hungary is not being singled out with that message,” Bell said, adding that it is important to make sure that every country understands that many refugees are fleeing violent extremism. “They are not terrorists. They are fleeing very complicated and difficult circumstances.”
Bell said that as one of the world’s most accepting countries, the US took in refugees from over 70 countries last year alone. This is why, she said, the US understands “the importance of screening individuals and processing for safety and security”.
On the topic of inspecting the Thunder Cloud 2015 joint exercise at the Papa military air base, in western Hungary, Bell noted that over the last year there had been a “major uptick in exercises as a result of Operation Atlantic Resolve”, one of the advances that came out of last year’s NATO summit in Wales. She said joint military exercises will continue so NATO can improve inner operability with its allies.
Hungary is an excellent NATO ally, Bell said.
“The Hungarian military’s professionalism, enthusiasm and talent are something that we all recognise. Hungary should be very proud of their military,” she said.
In terms of NATO contribution, at Wales, Hungary has committed to increase their spending of GDP, she added.
Hungary is represented by nearly 300 soldiers at the Thunder Cloud 2015 joint training and the US is present with 350 soldiers on A-10 fighters, nine of which are stationed in Papa.
Bell described Hungary-US relations as mature, complex and dynamic. They have strengths and there are areas where further work is needed to make progress, she added.
She said security cooperation is excellent and she foresees it as growing and expanding because the security environment is continually changing and as allies, the two countries need to work together, adapting to the changes.
Law enforcement cooperation is also excellent, she said. Hungary can create an overall safe environment to its citzens, with incidences of gun violence being extremely low, which should be commended, she added.
“We’ll continue law enforcement and we’ll continue to work on our security cooperation, and we’ll continue to express concerns wherever there may be concerns,” she said.
“It’s a two-way street because occasionally if I mention any concerns, you can be sure that there are members of the Hungarian government who are also expressing their concerns to me and we talk, and we believe in the utility of diplomatic dialogue and so much of the progress that is evolving from our cooperation is taking place in private rooms, with diplomatic dialogue at the forefront,” she added.