Free Press Journal

Hungary mulls sending troops to Iraq


Peter Szijjarto

Budapest: EU and NATO member Hungary said today it is considering joining the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq by sending 100 troops following a US request. “The parliament could take the decision in mid-April and Hungarian troops could arrive in Iraq during the second half of May,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told journalists.

“Hungary is already a part of the conflict with the Islamic State, because it belongs to the Western community of values, which was attacked by the terrorist organisation.” The soldiers’ role would be to protect a training centre in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Arbil in the north of the country, where coalition troops are training local forces, Szijjarto said.

The mission needs approval by a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament, meaning that Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party needs one additional opposition vote. Szijjarto met opposition leaders today trying to secure their support, and some lawmakers indicated they are willing to give their consent.

The central European country last year sent ammunition to Iraq to help the country’s armed forces in their fight against IS militants. Hungary provided military support to the US-led war in Iraq in 2003, and in 2005 donated tanks and armoured personnel carriers to the country. Hungary also had a sizeable contingent in Afghanistan until 2013.