Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky - Photo: MTI

Defence minister: Honest dialogue important with neighbouring countries

It is important that beyond international organisations, neighbouring countries also maintain close and honest dialogue with each other, Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said after talks with his Slovenian counterpart of Friday.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that he was in agreement with Marjan Sarec about the security of the western Balkans having special significance, with no European security existing without it. They also both condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine and expressed support from the country’s territorial integrity and independence.

“In an era of dangers”, Hungary must face not only a war in the neighbouring country but also the pressure of migration from the south, he said. As a result, the sides at the talks reviewed issues concerning the stability of the region and migration, he added.

Concerning the stability of the western Balkans, he said Slovenian and Hungarian soldiers are participating in missions, with Hungary being one of the largest participants in KFOR and also represented in the EUFOR Althea mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Concerning the Russia-Ukraine war, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said Hungary was on the side of peace and wanted to avoid getting dragged into the war, and he said NATO should be encouraged to make every effort to avoid escalation.

Both countries are dedicated and respected members of NATO, making every effort to fulfil NATO obligations in proportion to their abilities and even beyond, he said.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said he had informed his Slovenian colleague about the process of strengthening Hungary’s military force, with 2 percent of the country’s GDP being spent in this undertaking.

To meet the demands of generation change encouraged by NATO, Hungary’s is implementing a scheme to appoint younger officers in leading positions, he added.

Hungary is proud that together with Italy, it has been participating in Slovenian airspace policing for years, he said.

Sarec said that the talks focused on ways to further strengthen already excellent cooperation between the two countries, in the areas of defence and the military.

Training will remain a priority for aviation control and pilots, as well as military exercises, he said. Cooperation was increased last year in the area of special operations, and it will be further enhanced in military logistics, he added.

He qualified the defence industry strategy presented by Szalay-Bobrovniczky as “very good”. Slovenia is also preparing a new defence strategy and increasing its defence spending, he added.

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