All Hungarian troops serving in Iraq are safe, and the Hungarian Defence Ministry and the heads of the armed forces are closely monitoring the “difficult situation” there, ready to take any action deemed necessary by the leaders of the global coalition against ISIS, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference after Iran’s overnight missile attacks against US and NATO bases in Erbil and al-Asad, in Iraq, Szijjártó said it is in Hungary’s interest to avoid an escalation of the conflict.
He noted that under a ruling of the Hungarian parliament, the number of troops in Iraq cannot exceed 200. Most are deployed to the Erbil base, he said.
staff of the Hungarian consulate in Erbil are “fine” and that the Hungarian ambassador to Iraq is currently in Hungary.
Szijjártó said he will attend an extraordinary session of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday, and call on the EU to contribute to the de-escalation efforts. Security of the Middle East and of Europe go hand in hand, he warned.
Szijjártó called it “worrisome” that an international deal on the use of nuclear power with Iran is now “farther from reality than ever”.
Defence Ministry state secretary Szilárd Németh said on Wednesday that the Hungarian army and the defence ministry have taken the necessary steps to guarantee the safety of Hungarian soldiers, and preparations have been made for all scenarios in the wake of the missile attacks in Iraq earlier in the day.
Nearly 200 Hungarians serve in Ebril but none of them were hurt in the attacks, he told a press conference at the air base of Kecskemét, in central Hungary. Constant live communications are maintained with the commanders of the Iraqi operations, and constant information is being received and analysed with the involvement of the foreign ministry, he added.