Hungary supports an American initiative to get NATO to formally join the coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels.
Following a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Szijjártó said the US administration had made clear two expectations of NATO, one being the alliance taking on a bigger role in fighting terrorism and the other that member states should live up to their previous undertaking to increase defence spending. Hungary agrees with these US targets and regards the complete elimination of the IS terror group as key to solving the migration crisis and the problem of the disappearance of Christian communities in the Middle East.
The government will initiate that parliament should prolong Hungary’s participation in the anti-IS coalition by further two years, up until late 2019, and increase the strength of the Hungarian contingent from 150 to 200, he said. Szijjártó confirmed that Hungary would raise its defence spending to 2% of GDP by 2024 as expected by NATO. Hungary is also involved in efforts to strengthen the countries directly threatened by the Islamic State. To this effect, it provides training for Iraqi and Egyptian soldiers and Jordanian security forces, he said.
On the sidelines of a Brussels meeting of EU foreign ministers, Péter Szijjártó held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin (photo above). Hungary is ready to help Ukraine’s EU integration process and is a staunch supporter of a visa waiver and of a free trade agreement with the EU, but will stand up for the rights of ethnic Hungarians in that country, Szijjártó told news agency MTI after talks with Klimkin. Hungary’s top diplomat stressed that planned amendments to Ukraine’s language law, education law or citizenship law should not hurt the rights of ethnic Hungarian communities of the country. Should this happen, Hungary will not hesitate to address the issue at EU forums, he said.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; photo: Áprád Szabó – kormany.hu