On Monday, 26 June the Hungarian and the Nigerien ministers of defence signed a letter of intent on defence cooperation in Budapest.
Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that the three pillars of the cooperation are development, economy and security, and that they had also set out their common goals in a cooperation agreement, which provides an adequate framework for Hungary and Niger to embark on the path of cooperation while setting their sights on the stability of an active and well-functioning Hungary and of Europe as a whole.
Hungary is seeking opportunities for cooperating in these three fields with one of the most important countries of the Sahel in the framework of a partnership of equals, emphasized the Minister of Defence.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that during their meeting, they had reviewed in detail the security situation of the Sahel with respect to migration and terrorism. Hungary highly appreciates the Republic of Niger’s commitment to stability and peace, and considers it as the guarantee of regional security.
The Sahel is “Europe’s gateway to the south”, and according to Hungary, all problems must be dealt with where they emerge; for this reason, Hungary attaches strategic significance to the ties that bind it to Niger, said the minister, referring to the problem of illegal migration.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky informed his negotiating partner that Hungary would take over the presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2024, and assured him that the security of the Sahel would acquire special significance within the EU programs.
Nigerien Defence Minister Alkassoum Indattou pointed out that the discussions had laid the foundations for a solid and lasting form of cooperation, and the agreement signed at the event is a starting point in developing bilateral relations, which is to be followed by further steps, because both countries have the will to preserve security and stability, with special regard to the spread of terrorism.
This agreement lays the foundation not only of military cooperation – in terms of training, equipment and infrastructure –, but also of strengthening military capacities, said the minister of the Western African country.
The agreement creates a new opportunity for the two countries to foster peace and security in their regions, and to better meet those complex challenges that need to be tackled in order to be able to create a secure future for their citizens, said Alkassoum Indattou. The minister said that during his visit, he had learned about Hungary’s defence policy and witnessed the high level of its defence industry and policy.
Niger intends to learn from Hungary’s experiences gained in the field of defence policy, and would like to share its own experiences about the fight against terrorism in the Sahel, emphasized Alkassoum Indattou.
The minister pointed out that like Hungary, Niger is also exposed to several security threats, and for this reason, the two countries may become strategic partners for each other.