Hungary is to deploy 150 soldiers to the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil. They will train Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
Hungary’s Parliament on Tuesday passed a decree approving Hungary’s contribution of 150 soldiers to the international mission against the IS.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that 110 troops would be serving in Iraq and six officers at command posts while the rest would be standing by in Hungary.
Under the decree, passed by 137 votes to 57, the Hungarian soldiers will serve in Erbil until end-2017.
Before the vote opposition Socialists voiced reservations, suggesting that Hungary should provide equipment to the international mission, training for its members and medical treatment in Hungary rather than sending Hungarian soldiers to Iraq.
The Socialists also said that Hungary’s contingent of 150 to be sent to Iraq would be three times as large as that of the US, and 12 times as big as France’s contribution.
Péter Szijjártó welcomed the resolution, stating that granting permission to send the soldiers was the “wisest and most responsible” decision. Accordingly, Hungary can meet its obligation arising from its affiliation with the western community’s values, he said.
After the Hungarian government’s announcement, the Head of the Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa, said his government was pleased with the Hungarian decision.
“Pleased to have received a phone call from FM of Hungary Szijjártó about approval of Hungarian Parliament to send a military team to Erbil”, wrote Mustafa on his Twitter account.