Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hungarian Prime Minister, Secretary General discuss Afghanistan, Kosovo and NATO’s future

On 3 June, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited NATO Headquarters, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss NATO’s efforts in Afghanistan and Kosovo. They also discussed the upcoming Summit in Portugal, at which Allies will agree on a new Strategic Concept for NATO.

In speaking to the press after their meeting, the Secretary General congratulated the Prime Minister for his recent electoral victory and said he looked forward to cooperating with him and his government. He also expressed appreciation for Hungary’s contribution to NATO’s operations in Kosovo as well as in Afghanistan, where he said the country is “pulling its weight” despite tough financial times.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen also stressed the importance of Hungary’s hosting of NATO’s C17 transport aircraft, which he said was a “concrete demonstration of what we can do when Allies pool together their resources.” The aircraft can be used for missions as well as humanitarian airlift or disaster relief operations if called on.

The two also discussed Kosovo and the western Balkans, where the Secretary General said “there are many encouraging signs” and that “Kosovo is moving in the right direction”. “Euro-Atlantic integration for all countries in the Balkans must be the aim,” he added.

In speaking about NATO’s future, Mr Fogh Rasmussen said that territorial defence for member countries would remain a core function of the Alliance’s new Strategic Concept. “However, we also have to realize that in order to protect our people effectively, we need to adapt to the new security challenges of our century, like terrorism, cyber attacks [and] missile attacks.”

Prime Minister Orbán for his part said that Hungary is a very committed member of the Alliance and that the transatlantic cooperation NATO represents is a “cornerstone” of his country’s security.

On Afghanistan, he said the mission there has to conclude successfully to demonstrate NATO’s effectiveness as a leading organization in today’s world.

And in referring to NATO's future, the Prime Minister said: "Hungary would remain part of the common thinking on the future security and collective defence strategy of NATO."

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