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U.S. 'Concerned' About Hungarian Law 'Targeting' Soros-Funded University

A man holds up a sign saying, "Don't close CEU, Orban in jail," as students and teachers of the Central European University protest with sympathizers in front of parliament in Budapest on April 9.

A top U.S. diplomat says the United States is "concerned" about the impact of new Hungarian legislation upon on the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, which was founded by the Hungarian-born U.S. financier George Soros.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Yee said in Budapest on April 11 that the legislation "very clearly targets" the CEU "and threatens this important American-Hungarian institution."

Yee told Reuters that Hungary remained an important U.S. ally despite laws that hurt the university and academic freedom.

On April 10, Hungarian President Janos Ader signed legislation that could force CEU from the country.

Ader said the law complied with the constitution and did not infringe on academic freedom.

Last week, the nationalist government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban rushed legislation through parliament that requires foreign universities in Hungary to have a campus and provide similar courses in their country of origin.

The legislation triggered street protests in Budapest.

Orban's government sees the CEU as a bastion of Hungary's liberal opposition.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters