The security of Chad is especially important with regard to the whole of the Sahel, but it is also in the interest of both Hungary and Europe – stated Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky related to the Hungarian military mission in Chad. The Minister received Dago Yacoub, Defence Minister of the Republic of Chad in Budapest on Tuesday.
The National Assembly approved on 6 November the launching of an independent Hungarian military mission to Chad in 2024. The two Ministers had a detailed discussion about Hungary’s independent engagement in the African country at their meeting in Budapest, and they signed an agreement on the military cooperation of the two countries.
At the press conference following the event, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky emphasized that we live in an era of dangers, as there are two ongoing severe conflicts in our environment, and not independently from these, such an organized mass of migrants will flood into Europe that requires the action of the European countries and Hungary.
The Minister also added that what happens in the Sahel also appears at the borders of Hungary, which is why we need Hungary to take part actively in the maintenance of the stability of Chad. The government will provide a complex support package for Chad, as a part of which a military mission will be sent to the African country. This act conforms to the governmental policy according to which security and migration problems must be dealt with at their place of origin, in the source country, thus laying emphasis on prevention.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky highlighted that the Hungarian Defence Forces have already taken part in several missions abroad, but they will carry out this type of supportive task independently in cooperation with the armed forces of Chad for the first time. He noted that the military planning of the mission had already been finished: at first, they would rely on the special operations group, and then they would integrate other troops into the operation. The participation of the Hungarian soldiers will be voluntary.
“We have already been to Chad in order to prepare for the military mission. The chief of defence has inspected the circumstances personally, and another preparatory delegation is also going to visit Chad in the following weeks” – said the Minister, mentioning in connection with the military equipment that a helicopter of the HDF will also be used in the African country.
Complying with the two-thirds majority parliamentary approval, a military contingent of the HDF comprising a maximum of 200 – in the rotation period 400 – personnel with the necessary military equipment, weaponry and gear will be responsible for counselling, supportive and battlefield mentoring tasks in the territory of the Republic of Chad, protecting the interests of the Hungarian citizens and Hungary there and supporting the fight against terrorism. The Hungarian soldiers will be stationed in Chad until 31 December 2025, and besides the above-mentioned activities, they will participate in military tasks – in cooperation with the allied international forces – if needed.
Defence Minister of the Republic of Chad Dago Yacoub highlighted that his country has to face a great deal of challenges, for which they need the help of the European Union, Hungary and Africa. In his opinion, the cooperation of Chad and Hungary is of key importance in establishing peace.
Hungary will hold the rotating presidency for the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2024. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky indicated that Hungary as the rotating president for the Council of the European Union will pay particular attention to the European Union’s engagement in the Sahel.
The Republic of Chad with its territory of nearly 1.3 million square kilometers connects North and South Africa, it is the 20th largest country in the world and its population is 18 million. Besides the Sara ethnicity, which comprises one-fourth of the population, there are many other ethnic groups with nearly the same number of people living in the climatically diverse African country, the northern part of which belongs to the desert of the Sahara, its middle territory to the Sahel (Sahel strip), while its southern part to the savanna area of Sudan. Of Hungary’s international allies, France and the United States are currently present militarily in Chad.