by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with Prime Minister Victor Orban in the Hungarian parliament
It is a great pleasure to be here again and to meet with you again. The Prime Minister and I have had a very positive and constructive meeting. I’ve commended him for his very strong commitment to the transatlantic alliance, to NATO, and also commended Hungary for her strong commitment to NATO.
In Afghanistan and Kosovo, Hungarian troops are serving with professionalism and determination.
I commend you on the smooth handover of responsibility in Baghlan province earlier this year. And I appreciate the work you are doing to help train the Afghan forces. They are continuing to grow in capability and confidence, and Hungary has played a key role in this effort.
Recently, we reached a major milestone. Afghan forces are moving into the lead across the country, and ISAF is completing its shift from combat to support. Our goal is now in reach. And by the end of 2014 our ISAF mission will be completed.
We are planning a different, non-combat mission after 2014, to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces. And I appreciate Hungary’s commitment to this new mission.
We also discussed the importance of multinational approaches as a way of providing more capabilities, more effectively. You host the C-17 heavy transport aircraft which 10 Allies and two partners have bought together. These aircraft provide a vital lifeline to our troops on operations.
I have just visited the Pápa airbase, and I was impressed by the aircraft, and their crews. This is a perfect example of smart cooperation: nations working together to provide a capability which they could not afford on their own.
You are also making the most of your cooperation with your neighbours in the Visegrad group. And I congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Visegrad group today. Such cooperation benefits NATO, and it benefits Europe.
Such cooperation is vital when all our nations are facing financial challenges. I welcome the efforts Hungary has been making to end the decline of defence spending. And I encourage you to continue looking for ways to make better use of available funds, through increased investment in modern capabilities.
Prime Minister, I thank you very much. And I look forward to continue working with you to build security for the future.