Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan signed a defence agreement regulating military cooperation between Hungary and the United States (Defence Cooperation Agreement, DCA) on the closing day of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers held in Washington to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the alliance.
Following the signing ceremony, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “The bilateral military-defence agreement provides a suitable framework for the further reinforcement of cooperation within the defence sector”. The Hungarian Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that in addition to the founding of NATO, another anniversary is also being celebrated: the accession of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the alliance twenty years ago. Mr. Szijjártó called NATO the strongest and most successful military alliance every to have existed. “We are proud of the fact that during this time we have been able to contribute to the success of the alliance as a dependable partner on which the United States and NATO can always depend”, he highlighted.
As he explained, the United States is a true friend and strategic ally to Hungary. “Hungary has done everything within its power to contribute to the fight against terrorism”, he stressed. “Hungary is one of those states that not only talk about the fight against terrorism, but take action accordingly”, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted. With relating to this, he recalled his previous announcement according to which the number of Hungarian military personnel serving abroad in the fight against terrorism will be increased by 200: Budapest is sending 130 new soldiers to Kosovo, where the Hungarian contingent will as a result exceed 500, in addition to which it will also be increasing its contingent stationed in Afghanistan by a further 70 people. As a result, the number of Hungarian soldiers serving in the Asian country and contributing to the performance of NATO and other allied missions will total 1200.
“There is no better proof of the alliance between Hungary and the United States than the fact that our troops have confidence in each other, rely on each other, and risk their life together on the various missions”, he underlined. The Minister also welcomed the fact that these days not only are defence and economic cooperation on the agenda, but political cooperation has also begun again thanks to the visit to Hungary by the U.S. Secretary of State. U.S. Ambassador to Budapest David B. Cornstein expressed his appreciation of Péter Szijjártó and the Hungarian Government in a statement to mark the signing of the agreement.
“This agreement modernises the previous treaty on the legal status of military forces so that it can keep up with the new realities relating to defence issues, and it represents another step on the road taken by the Hungarian people 30 years ago, when it decided to put and end to communism and choose freedom. We are looking forward to being able to forge even closer security relations with Hungary, and hope that Hungarian Parliament ratifies the agreement as soon as possible”, he wrote.
(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)
(photo by Dimiter Sztojcsev, MFAT)