A Hungarian military contingent, partly made up of reservists, will begin a six-month tour of duty in Iraq; the 139 soldiers were bid farewell in the presence of their relatives and military leaders on Wednesday in the main square of Nyíregyháza, an eastern town in Hungary.
Gábor Gion, Secretary of State for Strategic Analysis and Human Resources Policy of the Ministry of Defense, said at the 15th discharge ceremony of the Hungarian Defense Forces Iraqi Training and Assurance Contingent that this is the first contingent in the history of the Hungarian Defense Forces to be composed of a significant part of reserve soldiers, with 41 reservists participating in the US-led coalition mission in addition to active duty personnel.
International operational engagement is an important part of Hungary’s diplomatic, security, and defense policy toolbox, which is why the Hungarian Defense Forces participate in numerous NATO, EU, and UN coalition operations, and coalition partners regard us as a reliable ally,”
the Secretary of State said.
He underlined that mass illegal migration has been one of the biggest challenges for Hungary and Europe since 2015, and by participating in the coalition operation in Iraq, the country is contributing to the elimination of the root causes of illegal migration from the Middle East. He recalled that the Defense Forces joined the global coalition operation against the Islamic State in 2015, as it is in Hungary’s interest to stop the spread of terrorism.
The Secretary of State confirmed that as part of the force development, the country needs both professional and reserve soldiers, the number of which has recently increased to 11,000.
Lieutenant General Zsolt Sándor, Deputy Commander of the Defense Forces, said that
although Iraq may seem far away, the contingent’s presence directly contributes to the security of the country and the Hungarian people, and their conscientious service guarantees that the consequences of distant crises and conflicts will not reach Hungary’s borders.
This battle-field is unlike any other, with extreme weather conditions and the need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing security environment, there is no such thing as a routine task, “even within Iraq, no two days are the same, no two rounds are the same,” Zsolt Sándor warned the soldiers.
Featured photo: MTI/Balázs Attila