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Viktor Orbán Reaches Agreement with NATO Secretary General on Operations in Ukraine

Hungary Today 2024.06.12.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (R) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on June 12, 2024.

Jens Stoltenberg visited Hungary today for talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Yesterday, the NATO Secretary General said at the meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Riga that they would discuss the agenda for the July summit in Washington, during which a main topic will be Ukraine.

The Hungarian Prime Minister also mentioned the visit in an interview with M1 television a few days ago. He said that during the meeting they would try to find an answer to the question of what legal solution would allow Hungary to stay out of a mission in Ukraine outside NATO territory.

At the press conference after the meeting this morning, it was revealed that in addition to the war, the two sides also discussed Hungary’s relations with NATO, Magyar Nemzet reports. “Hungary is staying out of the war. We will have passed the NATO summit, and there will be more and more difficult moments raising the possibility of going to war. Other proposals will be put on the table. Those debates will have to be held then,” the Prime Minister said.

He reminded the Secretary General that Hungary is a loyal and committed member of NATO. At the moment, 1,300 Hungarian soldiers are participating in NATO operations. The Prime Minister underlined that Hungary is one of the NATO member states that is fulfilling all its commitments: “Our defense spending exceeds two percent of GDP, and we are reaching and even exceeding the 20 percent capability development target.” He added: “We also perform air policing tasks in Slovakia, Slovenia.

These are the contributions Hungary can make to strengthen NATO, and we will continue to fulfill these responsibilities in the future.”

Another important topic of the talks was the Russian-Ukrainian war. It is well-known that Hungary’s position differs from that of the majority of NATO member states, namely on the question of how to find the shortest route to peace from this war.

Hungary acknowledges that the weight and number of opinions that differ from its own (…) is considerable,”

Viktor Orbán said. He expressed his gratitude to the Secretary General for allowing the government to express its views and present its analysis of the situation in all NATO circles.

Viktor Orbán (R) during talks with Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

“However, Hungary must admit that it does not have the capacity or the strength to change the opinions of a large number of people who disagree with it.

This is why Hungary made it clear at today’s meeting that it does not wish to block decisions in NATO which – although they differ from the reasonable decisions resulting from our interpretation of the situation – are decisions shared and advocated by the other member states,”

the Hungarian Prime Minister emphaized.

Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

He noted that the focus of today’s talks was that “any military action outside NATO territory can only be voluntary, based on NATO rules and our traditions.”

This was confirmed by the Secretary General in today’s meeting, and Hungary has thus received the guarantees we need,

the Prime Minister said.

Speaking at the press conference, Jens Stoltenberg underlined that “since the beginning of Russia’s brutal war of aggression, Hungary has continuously supported and sheltered Ukrainian refugees, helped rehabilitate wounded soldiers. All this contributes to our common security. I appreciate your statement that you remain a committed and loyal NATO ally.”

Photo: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

The NATO chief said he expected the allies to agree at the Washington Summit in July that the alliance would take the lead in coordinating and facilitating security assistance and training. He expressed the hope that member states would also make a long-term financial commitment to military assistance. This will provide predictability and reliability for Ukraine, he added.

Mr. Orbán has made it clear that Hungary does not wish to participate in these NATO efforts and I accept this position.

And I am happy that today I have reached an agreement with the Prime Minister on how Hungary can stay out of support operations for Ukraine, that Hungarian military personnel will not be involved in these activities and that Hungarian financial means will not be used for these activities,” Stoltenberg said. He added: “Hungary’s Prime Minister has given his support that he will not block any initiative in this direction and that Hungary will continue to fulfill all its commitments.”

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Via Magyar Nemzet, Featured image: MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

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