Hungary protests Biden’s ‘dictatorship’ comments about Orban

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest over remarks by President Joe Biden at a campaign stop saying Prime Minister Viktor Orban was seeking dictatorship, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Orban has openly supported former U.S. President Donald Trump‘s bid for the White House and his government has often been at odds with the Biden administration including over Hungary’s close ties to Russia.

Orban met Trump in Florida last week and praised him as the only presidential candidate who could end the war in Ukraine.

After their meeting, Biden said during a campaign stop that Orban “stated flatly he doesn’t think democracy works and is looking for dictatorship”, U.S. media outlets reported.

Hungary’s foreign minister called Biden’s statement a lie and a “very serious insult”.

“This way of thinking by the president and the Democratic administration is a heavy burden on our bilateral relationship,” Szijjarto said in reply to a question at a news conference.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than, Boldizsar Gergely and Anita Komuves, Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Nick Macfie)

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