“If we succeed in preventing situations in which people are forced to leave their homes, then we can also succeed in stopping migration processes instead of managing them”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Thursday at the UN Security Council’s ministerial-level open debate Women in Peacekeeping.

The Ministry issued a statement on the event to Hungarian news agency MTI on Friday. Mr. Szijjártó said Hungary recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its accession to NATO, and looking back it would seem that the country has not just enjoyed the advantages of its NATO membership, but has also contributed to the organisation’s successes. “Hungary is contributing to UN peacekeeping missions and will continue to do so in future”, he emphasised. “Peacekeeping is one of the UN’s most important activities, but reforms are also needed”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

“The Hungarian Government is prepared to facilitate this because it believes that peacekeeping is an important instrument to also enable the handling of the global challenges posed by migration”, he added. “the Hungarian Government recently made the dicision to increase the number of its military personnel serving abroad from one thousand to twelve hundred, and this will also enable an increase in the number of Hungarian UN peacekeepers”, Mr Szijjártó pointed out. “60 peacekeepers are being sent to Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL mission, where they will be serving under Italian command”, he stated.

The Minster thanked the Lebanese government and public for admitting millions of refugees. According to the Minister, Hungary sees an excellent opportunity in having police also take part in peacekeeping missions; the Hungarians are extremely well-trained and are already helping other countries to protect their borders in the Balkans. “The role of the Hungarians isn’t a classic peacekeeping mission, but if the borders are secure, it contributes to maintaining peace”, he highlighted.

“20 percent of the people working in Hungary’s armed forces are women, and this ratio is 23 percent at the police force. Hungary is committed to the introduction of the Women for Peace and Security programme, and is interested in becoming familiar with good practices”, Mr. Szijjártó said.