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Maj. Josef Szabo(hungarian delegation)

Generals, Ladies and Gentlemen, I know that time is running out and that lunch is almost ready.
I just wish to give you a brief summary and some information on the Hungarian MSU contingent in Sarajevo. I am very proud of this contingent because I was its first commander and was rather worried because the Hungarian defense forces do not have the same kind of units you have. Thus, this company has had to learn the procedures of the infantry units and general Leso supported me and said: “don’t worry, because we will support you during training and during the mission”. I really felt this support on behalf of the Italians, the Slovenians and the Rumanians. Therefore, my intervention consists in supplying you with general information on the contingent and the structure of the MSU tasks - the Hungarian contingent of course - and the rules and lessons learnt. Everyone knows that our forces are not consistent forces: this is why we have 1.450 soldiers abroad. I will now mention the SFOR mission in the Balkans. I would like to talk about the Hungarian participation in the mission. Hungary delegated a battalion of the Engineers Corps that was deployed near the frontier between Croatia and Bosnia as Engineers Brigade. Everyone knows that this battalion sustains SFOR operations in support of the Engineers Corps.

Hungary withdrew this contingent in 2002 just a few weeks before deploying a Hungarian MSU contingent for SFOR. This contingent is formed by 150 soldiers and was deployed in two phases: 50 men on 16 May, 2002 in the first stage. These formed the command platoon of the contingent and some quotas of the logistic group. The main part of the contingent was deployed a month later with 100 people over three Hungarian MSU platoons. Before taking part in the MSU regiment our soldiers and officers took part in a training period in Bosnia and some officers were sent to places such as Rome where they learnt about the aims of the MSU regiment. The organization of the Hungarian contingent provides for a company within the MSU with logistic elements. We began our job and carried out our tasks in the MSU regiment with a Hungarian platoon. Later, the Hungarian platoon was organized as a separate company. I have already mentioned that the latter is a mechanized infantry company.

Thus in the last two years of our work with the MSU, our headquarters monitored this company and gathered all the information from the Italian colleagues regarding the Hungarian contingent's contribution; we need to change our contribution and propose new ideas. During our integration training the Hungarian contingent carried out all the tasks it would have had to carry out later during the rotation with other contingents. The Hungarian units that were part of the MSU carry out the same tasks as all the other corps. The tasks of the Hungarians, carried out now just as in the past, are military police tasks, operative readiness, check points and patrol. Lastly, I would like to mention some of our experiences during the last two years. You already know that the Hungarian contingent is the MSU’s youngest member and that the basic operation level is that of a platoon. Perhaps it would be better to maintain the control of operations at company level and equip platoons with mixed vehicles to co-operate with other military units, both local and international.

In fact we aim at achieving more complex capacities both at police and at military level. 74 We have a lot to learn, in Hungary, because we believe that this is what we have to expect for the future. Therefore, we must consider the possibility of taking part in this kind of mission and must also consider the need for intensifying and improving our general military training to be able to face further peace-keeping operations. The MSU activity must improve out capacities. Thank you for your attention.

(*) - Transcript from an audio recording.
(**) - Major of the Hungarian Armed Forces.