US' Latest Diplomatic Brouhaha: Hungary

US cites suspicion of officials' corruption in denying 6 visas
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2014 11:43 AM CDT
US' Latest Diplomatic Brouhaha: Hungary
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.   (AP Photo/MTI, Szilard Koszticsak)

Tensions between US and Hungary have surged after the US denied visas to six Hungarian officials amid suspicion of corruption. A pro-government Hungarian news site says the denials were retribution for a Hungarian investigation into American companies, but the US embassy says that's not the case, the New York Times reports. The embassy holds that it wasn't aware of any investigations; instead, the visa denials are a "result of credible information that those individuals are either engaging in or benefiting from corruption." US companies earlier told the embassy that they'd been offered bribes.

If the "situation … continues in this way, it will be impossible to work together as allies," says the temporary head of the US embassy in the country. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff seems to agree, saying the issue "could poison, ruin the Hungarian-American friendship." The US has been concerned about Orban's increasing power, and President Obama recently cited Hungary among countries clamping down on opposition. Today, Hungary's foreign minister is meeting with a US official in Washington; the timing of the visa rejections ahead of the meeting is just a coincidence, the US says. (More Hungary stories.)

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