Hungarian President to skip NATO Eastern flank summit – Latvia

VILNIUS, Latvia (Reuters) – The Latvian President’s Office announced that Hungary’s president Tamas Sulyok would not be attending the Bucharest Nine summit in Riga, a grouping of European countries at the eastern edge NATO, on Tuesday.

Hungary and other central European countries have been at odds with Prime Minister Viktor Orban over his refusal to arm Ukraine and to maintain close ties with Russia.

A spokesperson for Latvian president Edgars Rinkevics said to Reuters that “Hungary’s Ambassador will be in Latvia”.

She didn’t give a reason, but referred questions about the agenda of the Hungarian President to Sulyok.

The Hungarian President’s Office did not immediately reply to the comment request, which was sent out of working hours.

The Buharest Nine usually includes the presidents of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as well as the presidents of Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Presidents of Bulgaria. These countries are both members of NATO and the European Union.

Orban, speaking to state media on Monday, said that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoldenberg, who is attending the Riga Summit, will visit Budapest “to discuss Hungary staying out of NATO’s Ukraine Mission”.

Last week, Hungary said it did not intend to stop importing natural gas from Russia. It also wanted to strengthen business relations with Moscow in areas that are not sanctioned.

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