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Szijjártó: NATO Essential in Facing Challenges of Terrorism

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.12.04.

Preserving NATO as the world’s most successful defence alliance is essential, especially now that terrorists are mounting fresh challenges by adapting new technologies, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Hungarian public media on the sidelines of the summit marking the alliance’s 70th anniversary, Szijjártó again said that illegal migration is on the rise once again, especially in the Western Balkans. This enhances the threat posed by terrorist organisations, Szijjártó added. Waves of uncontrolled illegal migration offer terrorist organisations opportunities to spread extremist ideologies all over the world “along with terrorists themselves”, he said. So NATO should focus on developments in the South as well as in the East, he said.

Hungary agrees that NATO should adapt to new challenges and that it needs new equipment to find solutions, Szijjártó said.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. Photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI

As contributions to that goal, Hungary will raise its Kosovo contingent by 100 to almost 500, thus bolstering the fight against terrorism on the Western Balkans, he said. It will also add an additional 80 troops to the 110 serving in Afghanistan “to fight the spreading of extremist ideologies and violence in the region”. Also, Hungary will continue supporting Afghan national security and defence forces with 500,000 US dollars a year for the next four years, he said.

Szijjártó said Hungarian Gripen aircraft will in 2022 again participate in the defence of the Baltic airspace.

Answering a question on pressure on NATO member states to raise defence spending to 2 percent of GDP in short order, Szijjártó said Hungary will keep its commitment to reach that benchmark by 2024. The relevant plan had been submitted to NATO and has received no criticism, he said.

Hungary Focuses on Military Improvement to Meet NATO Requirements

Hungary had also pledged to spend 20 percent of defence spending on developments, Szijjártó said, adding that this goal was achieved this year as development investments reached 23.5 percent of defence spending.

In the featured photo: Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. Photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI