Key's comments anger Hungary
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 8:33a.m.
Hungary's top representative in New Zealand is outraged by Prime Minister John Key's criticism of Hungarian troops in Afghanistan, calling his remarks "unhelpful" and "quite derogatory".
Mr Key says the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team's (PRT) plan to extend its patrols beyond Bamyan province into neighbouring Baghlan - which is under the control of the Hungarian PRT - is because Hungary's troops aren't fulfilling their responsibilities there.
"As far as I'm aware, the Hungarians don't go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway - they might in Budapest," Mr Key said earlier this week.
His comments came after Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone, both 26, were shot dead by insurgents while responding to a firefight between Afghan security forces and the Taliban on Saturday.
Honorary Consul-General of Hungary Klara Szentirmay told the New Zealand Herald the two countries' troops have a good working relationship, and the two PRTs deal with how things work at a local level.
"Maybe there's a gap there that needs to be addressed, but it'd be dealt with at that level and not by making snide remarks and inferring blame on Hungary for two New Zealanders' deaths," she said.
"It's completely unhelpful because I'm sure there's very good reasons why Hungary doesn't [patrol at night]."
Ms Szentirmay said the comments reflect more on Mr Key than on the relationship between New Zealand and Hungary.
Hungary's PRT has previously been criticised. A diplomatic cable, leaked in 2010, from US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry said the country "does little" to address security issues.
"They are not permitted to fire their weapons except in self-defence, do little more than patrol the main roads and undertake no counter-narcotics activities.
"When the security situation in northeastern Bamyan Province was threatened by Baghlan-based malefactors, it was the New Zealanders who had to cross into Baghlan to address the problem."
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13/08/2012 8:36:36 p.m.
Each country's PRT has different obligations. The Hungarian PRT is there to rebuild and train Afghan troops which they are doing well. As confirmed by their previous commander, they do patrol at night. So that accusation was incorrect. In my opinion this was nothing else, just a political attempt to switch the blame. Hungary was the best target, because they do what they required to do (Rebuild), but not fighting someone else's questionable war.
Also its easy to pointing fingers and blaming others, but nobody really knows whats the situation over there. Not even the politicians who read reports in their safe homes.
11/08/2012 2:22:36 p.m.
prt teams are not combat troops and shouldnt have to deal with combat excersices. america has combat troops on the ground, why not use them?
9/08/2012 6:28:46 p.m.
from hungary wrote:
Referreing back to my previous comment I would like to remind everyone, the it was Hungary who maintaind its embassy in Libya last year and maintains embassy in Syria now, representing many western powers at the offical diplomatic level in these countries after they pulled out their own diplomatic staff.
"The Hungarian Foreign Ministry issued a communiqué on Tuesday on Hungary and Canada concluding an agreement on the political representation. Similar co-operation already took place in Tripoli in Libya, in the course of 2011 when Hungarian diplomacy did an excellent job in representing other countries, including the United States."
9/08/2012 5:57:47 p.m.
If Hungary does not fulfill its security obligations, how come, the Hungarian PRT is NOT attacked?
Hungary has never taken part in colonialism like the arrogant and greedy Anglo-Saxon sh*t you are part of.
That is why Hungary has amicable relationships with several countries in the third world, unlike you.
9/08/2012 8:40:46 a.m.
Looks like JK comments re-Hungary have got what he wanted, getting everyone to blame them for NZ soldiers deaths. Politics eh, fool most of the people most of the time, does work!
8/08/2012 11:42:36 p.m.
No need for anymore bloodshed killed or on duty, but to evecuate the innocents and bombed that country into united kingdom and that should applies by the International Law and with Obama the President of America can proceed without fears or hesitation on his next target..
8/08/2012 10:43:31 p.m.
anyone would think with the number of posts you make per day in favour of National that this is your job.
I do keep forgetting that National pay PR firms to get their staff to post here however.
8/08/2012 5:48:48 p.m.
Nicely put Mike.
8/08/2012 5:28:07 p.m.
Carla Warren wrote:
That is a very fair comment
8/08/2012 2:15:29 p.m.
If John Key is right, then what he did was the right thing to do. Time to stop being PC. Do the job properly, or move over and let some real men do it.
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