An issue of great importance will be discussed within the framework of this conference. Many have said a great many different things about peace in the course of history, but from whatever angle we approach the issue, at the end of the day, we can only arrive at one and the same conclusion: peace is an indispensable basic precondition of life and existence, a natural state of affairs which is part and parcel of life and existence. Regrettably, in spite of its indispensability and naturalness, this state of affairs is, for many nations, countries and regions of the world, in the present time, in the last years of the 2 0th century, merely a much desired good, a goal to strive for. In many parts of the world, and in several regions of our continent, meaningless death, devastation and destruction play the leading part even in our days.
At the same time, the perception is gaining more and more ground that all nations of the world living in peace and professing democratic values should, by mobilising and joining their efforts, making full use of their capabilties, do their utmost to make sure that as many countries and nations as possible return to that natural state of affairs - peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After this introductory train of thought allow me to briefly touch upon a few issues which will give you a full picture of the Hungarian position on peacekeeping.
Like many other countries, the Republic of Hungary is also of the opinion that the role of peacekeeping within the United Nations Organisation has changed after the transformations in the world made up of blocs, it has assumed significant importance, because in the period of the confrontation of the big powers, the veto by one or the other member of the Security Council continually prevented the UN from taking effective action in managing different crises. Today, there is greater agreement of the Security Council members on peacekeeping than ever before. As a result, today the UN is really able to fulfill its original function, that being providing guarantees for and safeguarding peace. At the same time the demand for peacekeeping has increased to an incredible extent.
More and yet more crisis areas have continually been emerging, and formerly dormant crises have been revived, or new ones have cropped up. Unfortunately, Europe is no exception to this trend. One of the most destructive, most intricate crises in recent decades, which does not offer a hope for a resolution in the near future at all, has come to life in the immediate neighbourhood of Hungary, in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia.
Understanding and profoundly perceiving the urgent anxieties of our age, the Republic of Hungary - from the first months of its existence - has been paying a great deal of attention to the double importance of the demand for a comprehensive peaceful resolution and the readiness to act for it on the one hand, and the duality of the crisis emerging in a larger perspective than before, and the warlike phenomena, on the other. Like all other peace-loving nations professing democratic values, Hungary agrees, to the fullest extent, with all the efforts made, amid this dual trend, in support of the ones that ensure development, progress and being in advance of their time. We firmly believe that we are not to rely on our armed forces in the first place to ensure the security of our country, to create the guarantees for our security, but we wish to rely on preventive diplomacy, on our effective foreign policy and on the international organisations that have a function of or capabilities for crisis-prevention and crisis - removal. That is why we consider it our duty to contribute to the successful execution of the tasks of these organisations in any part of the world.
We think that:
Hungarian contribution to peacekeeping will strengthen our commitment to the resolution of conflicts in compliance with international norms, and it will facilitate solidarity with Hungary on the part of other countries professing similar principles;
at the same time, creating the potential of Hungarian peacekeeping will further our rapprochement towards organisations of integration and thereby we can tighten our politico-mi1itary contacts with NATO, WEU and CSCE;
since peacekeeping is given special emphasis within the "Partnership for Peace" programme, the international cooperation implemented in this area will be an important element in the furtherance of the restructuring of the Hungarian armed forces, and also in laying the foundation for compatability with our Western partners, in the creation of our capabilities of cooperation.
As is apparent from the above, in this way, by setting the goal of taking a more active part in peacekeeping, we can at the same time also promote achieveing our most important security policy objective, namely our rapprochement towards Western integration.
As regards the Hungarian contribution to peacekeeping, our experience in it, when compared with that of many other nations, can only be termed as modest. Hungary undertook the first of such missions after the peace-treaty concluding the Iraqi - Irani war was signed, after 20 August, 1988. Since then such activities have become a routine for us, unarmed Hungarian military observers are currently seeing service in many parts of the world, among them Cambodia, Angola, Kuwait and Mozambique.
A new element in our contribution to peacekeeping is the fact that while up to the present we have taken part in the various peacekeeping missions by assigning unarmed personnel acting as military observers only, since 1990 we have started creating the financial and legal conditions for a more active contribution to peacekeeping, exceeding our current commitments both in terms of quantity and quality. The necessary legislative basis has been created in the past couple of years, and several of our major Acts of Parliament, our Constitution included, contain important provisions related to this area. Thus, Paragraph 17 of our Basic Principles of Home Defence states: "The Hungarian Home Defence Forces shall have forces enabling them to contribute to peacekeeping activities of the UN and other international organisations of crisis-management". Our Home Defence Act states: "the mission of the armed forces is to fulfill military obligations set forth in international agreements (especially the UN Charter)".
Based on the above legislative basis we have started establishing our forces capable of contributing to peacekeeping missions. As an initial step, we have created the Peacekeeping Forces Training Centre, where training commenced on 04 July 1994, and a company - strong sub-unit will have been ready for executing peacekeeping activities by 01 November 1994.
We have selected the commanding and subordinate personnel of the Peacekeeping Forces Training Centre and the company to be trained based on a system of competition. The Hungarian soldiers will carry out peacekeeping operations as defined by the UN or other international organizations strictly by voluntary principles.
We have defined, and are constantly reworking the concepts and organisational framework for Hungarian training for peacekeeping operations based on a wide international scope by adapting extensive Western experience to our domestic conditions. Our purpose with this is not to imitate, but to gradually get closer to the increasingly coordinated or standardised models used by our partners. In such activities we carefully consider the economic load-bearing capability of our country, of course.
You may well know that in order togather as much experience as possible we have hosted international conferences here in Hungary as well with the mottoes "Nordic–Hungarian Seminar, Peacekeeping and its Future" in May 1993, and the "NACC Seminar on the Humanitarian Aspects of Peacekeeping" in January 1994.
In order to elaborate on the Hungarian views to peacekeeping I would like to briefly address three more topics.
We find all structural and organisational transformations that have been initiated by the UN in order to achieve more efficacious and cost-effective operations useful and topical and we give them our full support. By this I mean the organisational changes made in order to bring an end to the wide dispersion of UN Secretariates directing peacekeeping operations, especially the amalgamation of the FOD (Field Operations Division) with the DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) and the moderate rise in the number of military experts within the DPKO. Here I must remark that after expanding our participation in peacekeeping operations-in line with our financial capabilities - our country also plans to delegate military experts to the DPKO.
We also find the activities of the Planning Group in charge with setting up Stand-by Forces useful. In February, 1994 Hungary proposed to delegate the following sub-unit level forces to take part in it:
a)by 31 October, 1994 we will have a company trained in peacekeeping operations;
b)12 vehicle drivers to be assigned jointly with support units of another country;
c)one HQ Defence and Security Company (91 men);
d)one medical team - materiel and technical support as and when required;
e)certain public affairs and medical elements;
f)military observers and staff officers
I must also add that Hungary continues to interpret peacekeeping in its conventional sense for a long time to come and will be ready to actively contribute to it by making full use of her resources on hand.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When speaking of peacekeeping I cannot avoid making mention of the Hungarian position on the peacekeeping operations carried out at present in the former Yugoslavia.
New states have appeared in the former Yugoslavia and a complex, unresolved situation emerged. The newly established UNPROFOR cannot be considered as a regular peacekeeping mission since no frontlines exist in Bosnia-Herzegovina and demilitarised zones cannot be demarked either, so we cannot talk about peacekeeping in its traditional sense.
Hungary is in no position to contribute to the activities of UNPROFOR for understandable reasons (close proximity, large Hungarian minority). We believe that UNPROFOR is not one of the most successful UN missions, but at the same time it would be unfair to call it a failure.
We think that the major shortcoming of the project is that it was initiated rather late and its first steps were indecisive, so unfortunately they have only been lagging behind the events. Thus their mandate has been modified a number of times as well. Despite all the problems we can appreciate that the danger of an all-out civil war has been averted and truce achieved in Croatia.
The escalation of war has been successfully averted in Voivodina and Kosovo and preventive measures have stopped the conflict from breaking out in Macedonia.
The humanitarian aid programme in Bosnia is operating effectively.
International joint action and the growing number of peacekeeping forces have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The possibility of a peaceful resolution still remains thanks to their efforts and assistance.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have reached the end of my brief presentation of the Hungarian aims and objectives associated with peacekeeping. I hope I have been instrumental in forming a picture of the Hungarian position on this important issue. Confident in this hope, I thank you for your attention.