NATO summit – Hungary’s defence minister: NATO strengthens unity against threats from south
Warsaw, July 9 (MTI) – NATO has strengthened its unity in the fight against threats from the south, including illegal migration and people smuggling, Defence Minister István Simicskó said on Saturday after attending a two-day NATO summit in Warsaw.
A decision was made at the NATO summit on Friday to strengthen the “Eastern flank” and “a serious military alliance must also respond to challenges from the south”, he told Hungary’s public media.
“We have strengthened cohesion against threats from the south and also from the east”, he said. The fight against terrorism is a very important challenge to NATO, he added.
Illegal migration across the Mediterranean and the pressure of illegal migration in the Western Balkans” pose great threats on member states, involving human smuggling and the arrival of terrorists, he added. As a result, the agenda for the NATO summit in Warsaw included strengthening the Mediterranean fleet and the fight against Islamic State. Hungary participates in the training of Kurdish forces in Iraq and offers help to Jordan, he added.
In order to prevent the expansion of the Islamic State at its recent fast pace, NATO has decided to make every effort to maintain the stability of Libya, he said.
Commenting on NATO members’ Saturday decision to maintain stable military presence in Afghanistan, he said it is also important for handling migration and terrorism that Hungary should contribute to stabilising the forces as necessary. More than a hundred Hungarian soldiers will remain in the Afghanistan mission and Hungary will “provide financial help for local Afghan forces to work together with the Western world”, he added. The length of the extended mission will be the subject of a future decision, he said.
Commenting on the challenges for NATO from the east, Simicskó said that next to strengthened military presence, maintaining an open dialogue with Russia is important because “Europe’s stability demands that we should not lock the door but continue dialogue also with the Russians”.
Photo: MTI/EPA/Jacek Turczyk