Tibor Benko – Photo: MTI

Defence minister: W Balkans peace, stability ‘extremely important’ for Hungary

Hungary regards peace, stability and security in the Western Balkans as "extremely important", Hungary's defence minister said on Wednesday in Sarajevo, where he handed over a donation of 1,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to local civilians serving at the EUFOR camp.

Tibor Benko said the Hungarian government’s assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina contributed to the country’s security.

EUFOR Commander Alexander Platzer noted that whereas most peacekeeping soldiers at the had already received jabs, civilians working in the camp hadn’t. Hungary quickly responded to their request for help, he added.

Mijo Kresic, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s deputy minister for defence, said the donation was a sign of the deepening of “outstanding” relations between the two countries.

Benko noted that the vaccination rate within Hungary’s army was 85 percent and that around 7,000 soldiers and military personnel had been infected during the epidemic, while 14 soldiers and personnel died.

Later on Wednesday, Benko delivered 5,100 AstraZeneca vaccines to the KFOR troops stationed in Novo Selo in Kosovo.

Benko told journalists that the Hungarian shipment is the only delivery to guarantee the inoculation of local civilians working alongside Hungarian troops in the two countries.

Hungary will take over KFOR’s command on October 1, Benko noted. It has already prepared a battalion to deploy in case it becomes necessary to “preserve the fragile peace of the region”, he said.

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