Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő attended a meeting of UN defence ministers in New York.

The main topic of discussion at Friday’s conference, which was held with the participation of 153 member states, was peacekeeping roles and development projects. The participants reported on their countries roles in UN peacekeeping missions, on their military capabilities, and on their development projects realised within the field of training systems, as well as on measures introduced to assure the more effective protection of citizens.
At the conference in New York, Mr. Benkő spoke about the fact that Hungary remains committed to peacekeeping missions, and is supporting the fight against terrorism and the maintaining of peace in the world’s conflict zones. This is corroborated by the fact that according to a January 2019 government decision, Hungary will be increasing the number of military personnel taking part in peacekeeping missions from 1000 to 1200.

In addition, the modernisation realised within the framework of the Zrinyi 2026 Hungarian Defence Force and Military Development Programme also involves sectors in which the UN has indicated that the country lacks suitable capabilities.

On the sidelines of the meeting of UN defence ministers in New York, the head of Hungary’s Defence Ministry held talks with Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultquist on experiences relating to the operation of Gripen fighters and the Balti air space monitoring tasks due to begin in May, during the course of which Hungary will once again be providing the air defence of the Baltic States at the request of NATO.

Mr. Benkő also met with Irish Defence Secretary Paul Kehoe to discuss future joint UN tasks. According to plan, as part of a Polish company, Hungarian soldiers will soon be joining the peacekeeping battalion in Lebanon, which is pirating under Irish command.

The Hungarian Defence Minister was n a four-ay official visit to the Untied States, where he made a courtesy visit to NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation  Andre Lanata, informing him of the modernisation of Hungary’s army, the Zrinyi 2026 Hungarian Defence Force and Military Development Programme and the performance of the commitments set out for NATO member states. The Minister visited Hungarian military personnel serving at the Command.

During his visit to Washington, Mr. Benkő met with Congressman Steve Stivers and commander of the National Guard General Joseph L. Lengyel. The topics of discussion during his meeting with Congressman Stivers included the historic development projects ongoing within the Hungarian Defence Force, as a result of which, as a committed member of NATO, Hungary is contributing to increasing the region’s security.

Mr. Benkő and General Lengyel discussed NATO southern strategy, the Western Balkans and the situation in Ukraine. The parties also spoke about the defence cooperation agreement, the joint exercises by the Hungarian Defence Force and the Ohio National Guard, and training events, in addition to the issue of migration.  With relation to the latter, Mr. Benkő highlighted the fact that challenges such as the fight against terrorism and mass illegal immigration require continuous and constant attention, but today, Hungary has the European Union’s most effectively defended stretch of external border.

In Washington, the Minister met with representatives of the local Hungarian community, informing them about the Hungarian Government’s national policy goals, and by doing so further confirmed the high importance attributed to the Hungarian diaspora living abroad, and the fact that the talking care of them is one of the priorities of the Hungarian Government.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)