Stability in the Sahel region of West Africa could ensure control over illegal migration from Sub-Saharan territories, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on the sidelines of a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Brussels. Szijjártó also asked the other ministers to continue supporting the Western Balkans, which he said was “the ante-chamber to Europe’s security”. The minister noted that Hungary had 420 troops stationed in Kosovo, and was planning to send another 100 soldiers to that country. Hungary took over the commandership of the Kosovo mission in November, he added.
Szijjártó also said that Hungary would soon fulfil its commitment made in 2014 to raise its defence spending to 2% of GDP. He added that Hungary had already reached its goal of increasing the proportion of development within defence spending to 20%.
On the subject of Ukraine, Szijjártó said Hungary’s north-eastern neighbour “keeps making political and legislative decisions which make the life of ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia more difficult”. He said that despite Ukraine’s earlier pledges, “things are not going in the right direction”. As long as Ukraine “systematically violates ethnic minority rights, Hungary will not grant approval to a ministerial level NATO-Ukraine meeting”, he said. “We are loyal to the alliance and we expect our allies to be loyal to us concerning an extremely important issue,” Szijjártó said.