More Hungarian soldiers in Kosovo and Bosnia

Hungarian army chief Tibor Benko says the number of Hungarian soldiers in Kosovo and Bosnia would increase as the forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

Source: Tanjug
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"We need to set up strong and firm cooperation in the Balkan region because it bears major importance for both sides, which is why the decision has been adopted that the number of troops in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina should increase simultaneously with the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan," Benko said in Belgrade.

He was on Tuesday meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ljubiša Diković.

Benko noted that the two countries' armies had an exceptionally good cooperation in joint exercises and multinational peacekeeping operations since he assumed office as the head of the Hungarian army headquarters.

"During my last visit to Cyprus, I had a chance to see the actions of exceptionally well-trained and committed soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Serbia," Benko said.

He announced the possibility of cooperation in the area of military medicine. The seat of a NATO military medical centre is based in Hungary, Benko recalled and expressed the belief that good cooperation can be achieved in this area.

He recalled that Hungary has been a member of the EU since 2004 and added that the experience of the Hungarian soldiers can prove useful for the Serbian army as well and help facilitate its EU accession process.

Diković stated that the two countries share exceptionally good bilateral military cooperation.

For a number of years now, our soldiers have been conducting trainings together with the armed forces of Hungary in the preparations for participation in multinational operations, especially for the deployment of troops in Cyprus, Diković said.

He recalled that around 300 Hungarian soldiers are deployed within KFOR in Kosovo and Metohija, while their number in EULEX totals around 30.

As the crown of cooperation, Diković listed the joint exercises of the two countries' armed forces in Serbia and Hungary that include use of lethal weapons, which points to the highest possible degree of trust between any two armies.

Diković announced talks with his Hungarian colleague on regional security situation and the capacities of the ABHO Center for training in Kruševac or the Center for training for participation in multinational operations in South base.

"We will also discuss the possibilities for exchange of data on the state in airspace and other important issues relevant to further development of the bilateral military cooperation," Diković said.

One of the topics of the talks will cover the possibilities for joint participation in the European security structure, having in mind Serbia's strategic commitment to EU accession, Diković said.

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