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NATO Buildup Not to Affect Hungary-Russia Ties

© AP Photo / Ivan SekretarevHungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto - Sputnik International
NATO presence in Hungary will not affect the country's cooperation with Russia, Hungarian foreign minister told Sputnik in an interview.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Increased NATO presence in Hungary will not affect its relations with Russia, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Earlier in October, the Hungarian government said it would host a NATO command center as part of the military bloc’s strategy to deploy a rapid reaction force in Europe. The Hungarian facility will reportedly be staffed by 40 Hungarian officers and is expected to become operational as early as next year.

"It will not affect our pragmatic cooperation with Russia. We have strong willingness to have prognostic cooperation with Russia based on mutual respect and respect of international law," Szijjarto said.

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Similar centers have been set up in the Central and East European nations of Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and the three Baltic States – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The issue of establishing a NATO command center in Hungary was not discussed during the country's talks in Moscow on Wednesday, the minister told Sputnik.

Earlier in the day, Szijjarto participated in a meeting of the Russian-Hungary Intergovernmental Commission in Moscow.

"It was not mentioned in the meetings, Hungary is a member of NATO, so it is obvious that usually they upgrade infrastructure within alliance, so there is nothing unusual," the foreign minister said.

NATO has been increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea since the outbreak of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine in April 2014, in response to what it considers Russia's aggressive foreign policy.

Russia has repeatedly warned that the increased NATO activity close to its borders is provocative and poses a threat to regional and international stability.


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