Hungary’s place is in NATO, says Martonyi (adds Hende, US ambassador, Lamers)

Budapest, October 5 (MTI) – Hungary’s place is in NATO, in the transatlantic family; although the world is in a state of permanent transformation, values remain unchanged and NATO is basically a community of values, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said on Friday.

Hungary can only feel safe in an alliance whose members trust, agree with, and can count on one another, the minister said at a session marking the 20th anniversary of the Hungarian Atlantic Council.


Hungary’s security is based on the strength of, and solidarity between, its NATO allies.


For this reason, Hungary’s place is and will continue to remain in NATO in the decades to come, Martonyi said.


The minister noted that Hungary had joined NATO a few days before NATO had launched its air raids on Yugoslavia.


During that conflict, Hungarians would have felt themselves much less safer outside NATO, Martonyi said.


Defence Minister Csaba Hende said that European NATO allies grappling with an economic crisis were able to spend much less on enhancing their defence capabilities than previously. From this aspect, there is a rift between the American and European NATO allies, he said.


Hende noted that Hungary had, since the very beginning, supported NATO enlargement, especially the admission of its neighbours.


US Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis said that, in the light of the recent events in North Africa, there was a bigger need for cooperation between the NATO member states than ever before.


The ambassador called cooperation for international security a key area of US-Hungarian relations, adding that Washington highly appreciates the related efforts of Budapest.


Karl Lamers, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said that Hungary, as a NATO member, was contributing to international security. Hungary has a special place in the transatlantic family, he said, noting that the country was participating in NATO’s work throughout the world, including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.