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Apr 03, 2017

Hungary to extend participation in the fight against IS up until late 2019

Hungary agrees that the complete elimination of the Islamic State (IS) terror group is key to solving the migration crisis and the problem of the nascent disappearance of Christian communities in the Middle East

Hungary supports an American initiative to get NATO to formally join the coalition fighting the Islamic State terrorist organization, Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has said. The minister made the remarks during a one-day Brussels meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers on Friday.

According to MTI, the minister said the US administration had made clear two expectations of NATO, one being the alliance taking on a bigger role in fighting terrorism and the other that member states should live up to their previous undertaking to increase defence spending.

Hungary agrees with these American targets and regards the complete elimination of the Islamic State (IS) terror group as key to solving the migration crisis and the problem of the nascent disappearance of Christian communities in the Middle East, the minister said.

The government will initiate that parliament should prolong Hungary’s participation in the anti-IS coalition by a further two years, up until late 2019, and increase the strength of the Hungarian contingent deployed in the region from 150 to 200, the minister said.

Szijjártó confirmed that Hungary would raise its defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024 as expected by NATO.

Hungary is also involved in efforts to strengthen the countries directly threatened by the Islamic State. To this effect, it provided training for Iraqi soldiers and Jordanian security forces over the past half year, and will organise a similar programme for Egyptian soldiers in summer, he said.

Szijjártó stressed the need to boost the Euro-Atlantic integration of the western Balkans countries and maintain NATO presence in the region.