Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő received Sweden’s Ambassador to Budapest Dag Hartelius in his office on Tuesday, 28 January.

At the start of the meeting, the Minister expressed his condolences in the name of the Ministry of Defence and the Hungarian Defence Force Command with relation to the Swedish citizens who lost their lives in the Ukrainian passenger aircraft disaster on 8 January.

With relation to the above, Mr. Benkő emphasised that the incident sheds light on the importance of military training, since a lack of training can have unforeseen consequences. He also highlighted the fact that the international community must undertake a greater role in the fight against terrorism, in view of the fact that terrorism is also threatening Europe’s security. The Minister of Defence told his negotiating partner that according to Hungary’s standpoint, problems must be handled where they arise, and this is also the foundation for Hungarian decisions with relation to undertaking international missions.

With relation to the Gripen fighters, the Minister of Defence emphasised that the most important part of bilateral relations remains the Gripen lease contract concluded in 2001. “On Hungary’s part, we wish to concentrate on areas relating to the implementation of the Gripen programme, in which Hungary continues to count on the cooperation of the Swedish party”, he added. The Swedish-made Carl Gustaf M4 anti-tank weapons system acquired last year was also mentioned, which is contributing to a major extent to the development of the Hungarian Defence Force’s capabilities. With relation to this, the Swedish Ambassador praised the level of preparedness of the Hungarian soldiers undergoing training.

In addition to the above, topics of discussion at the meeting included the planned visit to Stockholm by the Minister of Defence in February, military development, and new types of threats.