Despite Being Courted by Netanyahu, Hungary Won't Move Embassy to Jerusalem

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum in Budapest, Hungary November 27, 2017.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum in Budapest, Hungary November 27, 2017. Credit: Laszlo Balogh

Hungary is not planning to move its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday, adding that the government’s Middle East policy was unchanged.

“This (option) has not come up,” Orban told reporters in response to a question in parliament according to an audio recording of his remarks published on the website of private broadcaster HirTV.

“Hungary sees no reason to change its Middle East policy,” Orban said. “We will continue with the balanced politics we have been pursuing.” He did not elaborate.

On Friday, Hungary blocked a statement planned by all EU 28 governments in response to Trump’s announcement and the Foreign Ministry said Hungary was in favor of a negotiated solution in the Middle East.

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Netanyahu met with the EU foriegn ministers in Brussels on Monday, and said that the EU needs to stop pampering Palestinians and follow U.S. President Donald Trump, who Netanyahu claimed tells them the truth.

While dining with 28 of the EU's top diplomats, Netanyahu said that Israel's actions prevent ISIS from spreading and that "we do this to protect ourselves but also Europe. There is no country in the Mideast that protects Europe like Israel."

>> Netanyahu ought to listen, not just preach, to EU ministers | Opinion

Netanyahu responded to questions by foreign ministers of the EU regarding the Israeli settlement enterprise. He said that he does not believe that the settlements are at the heart of the conflict.

Last July, Netnayhu visited the country and met with Orban. Israel has sought better bilateral ties with countries that have a vote in forums such as the European Union or the United Nations, who it hopes will help defend its interests when Israel is criticized.

Orban and Netanyahu have found common cause on the issue of Hungarian-born Soros and his support for non-governmental organizations that have criticized their governments’ policies.

The warm ties between Netanyahu and Orban have raised eyebrows in the European Union, where the Hungarian leader is regarded as an illiberal maverick. His party has curtailed press freedom and stymied EU efforts to tackle the migrant crisis.

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