Due to the constant challenges facing the international security system, Hungary will contribute more to NATO’s defence efforts, the foreign minister said at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday.
Hungary is also continuously increasing its contributions to boosting NATO’s strength, Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian reporters during a break on the first day of the two-day summit.
To this end, Hungary has embarked on a comprehensive military reform with a view to producing a regionally competitive army, Szijjártó said.
Hungary has begun to modernise its capacities, he said, noting that the country’s defence force has recently ordered new helicopters for some 100 billion forints (EUR 308m).
Hungary’s military development scheme dubbed Zrínyi 2026 will enable it to honor its agreements to increase its defence spending to 2 percent of GDP, the minister added.
Szijjarto said Hungary will fortify its contingent of 117 troops in Afghanistan by another 12 soldiers. In addition, Hungary has decided to maintain its financial contribution to the development of the security forces in Afghanistan, equalling 500,000 dollars a year, until 2024, he said.
Further, Hungary will join NATO’s training mission in Iraq aimed at preparing that country’s security forces for protecting the territories that have been taken back from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
Hungary will expand its role in the international fight against IS by increasing the number of Hungarian soldiers serving in Iraq from 167 to 200, Szijjártó said.
Given that NATO places high emphasis on developing the defence capacities of countries cooperating militarily, Hungary has contributed to training the Jordanian and Iraqi defence forces in defusing homemade bombs and will soon begin training Tunisia’s soldiers as well, Szijjártó said.
Hungary will also expand its contingent serving in the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo to 390 soldiers, making it the fourth largest contingent in the region, the minister said. And as a show of solidarity towards the Baltic states, Hungary will resume its role in patrolling the region’s airspace in 2019, he added.
Hungary was working to establish a new NATO command headquarters with German help and the involvement of Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia, he noted.
On the subject of Ukraine, the minister said Hungary considers it “outrageous” that “anti-Hungarian and anti-minority” sentiment and political movements were now being given a platform “at the highest political level” in that country. Hungary believes that if a country strives for European or Euro-Atlantic integration, it cannot allow anti-minority and “extreme nationalist” ideas to spread like they have in Ukraine, Szijjártó added.
Hungary has made it clear that it will not support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration in any way until this situation in the country improves, he said.
Featured image: MTI