Hungary and the United States have signed a new defense cooperation agreement in Washington, D.C., according to Hungarian government website kormany.hu. The agreement was signed by Hungaryʼs Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Szijjártó said the agreement was a "modernized version" of an earlier defense cooperation agreement the sides signed more than 20 years ago. The new agreement will contribute to ensuring Hungary’s security and to keeping NATO the most successful, strongest military alliance, he added.
Szijjártó also reminded the audience about an earlier commitment of increasing the number of Hungarian soldiers fighting terrorism abroad by 200. Some 130 of the troops will serve in Kosovo, with the remaining 70 set to strengthen the contingent stationed in Afghanistan.
U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein welcomed the signing of the agreement.
"I commend Foreign Minister Szijjártó and the Hungarian government for signing the Defense Cooperation Agreement today on the margins of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Washington, D.C.," he noted. "This agreement will modernize our previous status of forces agreement to reflect new realities in defense, and represents another positive step forward in the journey that the Hungarian people began 30 years ago when they chose to end communism and embrace liberty. We look forward to an even stronger security relationship with Hungary, and we hope the Hungarian Parliament will complete its approval of the agreement as soon as possible."