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Cohen Praises Hungary for Kosovo Support, Reforms, Resolve

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BUDAPEST, Hungary, July 12, 1999 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen praised Hungary's support for Operation Allied Force July 12 during his first visit here since the former Soviet bloc nation joined NATO.

"Hungary has already demonstrated that it is willing, able and prepared to work for stability in Europe," the secretary said at a press conference. He thanked Defense Minister Szabo Janos for the strong role Hungary played in the air campaign against Yugoslavia.

Hungarian officials allowed U.S. and NATO planes to operate from Hungarian bases and prevented unauthorized shipments into Yugoslavia by vigilantly policing Hungary's borders and air space. Hungary is also participating in NATO's security mission in Kosovo by contributing 350 troops to KFOR.

"Hungary has been a major factor in the successful resolution of the conflict in Kosovo," Cohen said. "It's also making an important contribution to the KFOR mission."

Cohen called on Hungary to continue its efforts to reform its military, revise its strategies and modernize its forces to enhance interoperability with other NATO allies. He expressed his hopes Hungary will continue its efforts to implement the Defense Capabilities Initiative members adopted at NATO's Washington summit in April to produce mobile, effective and enduring alliance forces.

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