On Thursday, 20 July, Hungarian Deputy Minister of Defence Tamás Vargha attended, in Washington D.C., the meeting of defence ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He was accompanied on his journey by Péter Siklósi, Deputy State Secretary for Defence and Security Policy of the Ministry of Defence.
The decisions taken by Heads of State and Government of member countries at the NATO Summit in Warsaw held on 8–9 July have paved the way for the current ministerial meeting of the military coalition. The participants of the Warsaw Summit agreed that in the future, NATO should pay more attention to tackling the challenges it faces from the south, especially terrorism, migration and instability.
The objective of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL is to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the terrorist organization named Islamic State. So far 66 countries have joined the US-led coalition.
Altogether 26 countries contribute to the military efforts of the coalition, including Hungary, as more than 100 Hungarian troops have been serving in Iraq since August 2015.
Hungary takes part with a military force in the international efforts aimed at resolving the armed conflict, because it has committed itself to reducing the terrorist threat in Europe. We are convinced that we need to get to the root of the problems before we can solve them. This conflict-ridden region encompasses some source countries of the migration crisis that seriously affects Hungary as well.
In addition to making military contributions, Hungary had earlier offered to send 250 tons of ammunition to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and to provide treatment and rehabilitation for 20 wounded Peshmergas in the HDF Medical Centre. Of them, ten soldiers have already undergone the treatment.
At the Washington meeting, Deputy Minister of Defence Tamás Vargha stated that Hungary is going to increase its troop numbers in Iraq, which will approach the maximum personnel strength of 150 allowed by the mandate. This is our national interest because the stabilization of Iraq and Syria would be a significant step forward in stemming the flow of illegal migration. Mr. Vargha explained that the problems causing the migration crisis must be solved locally, instead of importing them to Europe.
The defence ministers attending the meeting agreed that due to the great resilience of the ISIL/Daesh, it is expected that there will be a protracted armed conflict in Iraq and Syria, and they also concluded that it may take years until life returns to normal after defeating the ISIL/Daesh.
On Friday, 21 July the two-day event continues with a meeting of the Expanded Small Group of the international coalition on the level of foreign and defence ministers.
Source: Ministry of Defence