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Hungary to close embassies to cut spending

Budapest — Hungary is closing four embassies and eight consulates around the world to cut state spending, Foreign Minister Peter Balazs announced on Tuesday.

"With the reorganisation, the ministry will save two billion forint (7.0 million euros, 10.0 million dollars) annually," Balazs told a press conference.

The belt-tightening concerns only one embassy in Europe, in Luxembourg, one in Malaysia and two in South America.

Hungary will meanwhile close eight consulates, including in Hong Kong, Sydney, Chicago and Düsseldorf, Germany.

Hungarian delegations to various international organisations will also move to shared offices in Vienna, Paris and Geneva, Balazs said.

Hit severely by the global economic crisis, Hungary averted bankruptcy only through a massive international bailout package last October.

In exchange for the International Monetary Fund-led 20-billion-euro lifeline, the state has to carry out a string of spending cuts pledged to reach 1.3 trillion forint (4.6 billion euros, 6.4 billion dollars) during 2009 and 2010.