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British PM Johnson Meets Hungarian Counterpart Amid Criticism


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Downing Street in London on May 28

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on May 28 amid criticism for inviting the hard-line Central European leader to 10 Downing Street.

Johnson’s office said in a statement that the two leaders discussed security and climate change among other topics, adding that the British premier raised the issue of human rights with Orban.

The Hungarian prime minister, who has been in power since 2010, is an anti-immigration right-wing populist who described Muslim migrants as invaders who threaten Europe’s Christian cultural identity.

Hungary is a European Union and NATO member, but Orban has repeatedly come into conflict with Brussels for clamping down on media and judicial freedom and has been accused of condoning cronyism and corruption among his inner circle.

He's also maintained close ties with President Vladimir Putin's Russia and with China, and has twice blocked the EU from issuing statements condemning Beijing for actions in Hong Kong.

Orban has previously praised Johnson for taking Britain out of the bloc.

Opposition Labour Party foreign-affairs spokeswoman Lisa Nandy said Johnson should challenge Orban’s “repeated attempts to undermine democratic values.”

“Anything less than a robust rejection of these acts is tantamount to rolling out the red carpet,” she said.

Downing Street said Johnson “raised his significant concerns about human rights in Hungary, including gender equality, LGBT rights, and media freedom.”

“The leaders also discussed a number of foreign-policy issues including Russia, Belarus, and China," Downing Street said. "The prime minister encouraged Hungary to use their influence to promote democracy and stability.”

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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