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Commenting on outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s candidacy for the post of NATO’s next Secretary General, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told weekly Mandiner in an interview that Hungary would back Romania’s candidate. Explaining the Hungarian position, Orbán referred to Rutte suggesting earlier that Hungary should be excluded from the EU and should be brought to its knees. “The last time such steps were taken against Hungary were those by the German invaders and Stalin,” he said, adding that since it was Rutte asking for Hungary’s support for the post, “he’s the one who can be expected to say something about the matter”. Orbán said another reason was the aim to conclude an agreement with NATO’s next chief establishing that although a member of NATO, Hungary would not participate in any military operation mounted by the alliance against Russia in Ukraine.
Speaking about relations with China, the prime minister said “Hungary wants to be a friend of two players who are otherwise in conflict; we want to nurture good relations with the United States and China as well.” He said China “is not taking Russia’s place”, adding that Hungary sought to boost cooperation with Russia in areas not covered by EU sanctions. Orbán said if a cooperation was based on national interests, such a cooperation could be endorsed.
In connection with last month’s attempt on the Slovak prime minister’s life, Orbán said such an attempt could also take place in Hungary. He said he had not spoken to Robert Fico yet. Orbán, however, said he maintained direct contact with Fico’s colleagues and family, and was seeking the opportunity of a personal visit “to pay my personal respect and camaraderie” as well as “to convey to him the well-wishes of the Hungarian nation”. Orbán said his relationship with Fico “is of a special nature”, describing him as an “anti-Hungarian-turned sovereigntist politician”.