Clinton Emphasizes Democracy In Hungary

Posted June 30th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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The top U.S. diplomat is urging Hungary to strengthen its democratic institutions in the face of sharp criticism that the eastern European nation is becoming more autocratic.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for Budapest to commit to an independent judiciary, free press and government transparency.

Critics of the Hungarian government have said that a new constitution and media law introduced this year threaten the country's democratic freedoms.

Clinton was in Budapest for the inauguration of a human rights center named after the late Hungarian-born U.S. congressman Tom Lantos.

Speaking after talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Clinton said they had discussed the importance of providing the country with the “checks and balances” essential to any democracy.

Clinton drew parallels between the democracies in transition in Eastern Europe and the political and social changes in the “Arab Spring” nations of the Middle East and North Africa.

Saying it was in the interest of the United States to maintain dialogue with all parties committed to non-violent change to democracy, Clinton said that Washington would welcome dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.