NATO is the most successful military alliance in human history, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at a roundtable discussion he attended with his Polish and Czech counterparts, Tomas Petricek and Jacek Czaputowicz, on Thursday evening in Washington, DC.
At a conference held in celebration on NATO’s 70th anniversary, Szijjártó noted that the 20th anniversary of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic’s accession to the alliance is also being celebrated this year.
“Only those who have experienced Communism can grasp the significance of this membership,” he said.
Hungary has embarked on a comprehensive modernisation of its armed forces and has raised the number of its troops in NATO missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, the minister said.
Szijjártó noted migration pressure on Europe and its dangers to European security, saying NATO should make Africa one of its focal points.
Czaputowicz focused on the challenge Russia poses to NATO, saying the Polish government welcomed the stronger US military presence in the country.
Szijjártó said the US had changed its policy towards central Europe root and branch, and Hungary welcomed this turnabout. “Instead of intervening [in domestic affairs], we see American policies based on mutual respect,” he added.
He also commented on Ukraine, referring to the situation of the Hungarian minority living there and restrictions to their rights, saying this reflected Ukraine’s failure to observe NATO values.