US arms deal to Hungary halted due to Sweden NATO membership

US arms deal to Hungary halted due to Sweden NATO membership


An arms sale to Hungary from the US worth $735 million was blocked on Wednesday by one senator because of Budapest obstructionism over Sweden’s NATO membership. According to the Washington Post, who first broke the news, the sale includes 24 HIMARS rocket launcher batteries, more than 100 rockets and pods, plus associated parts and support.

Hungary didn’t comment directly on the halt, but the Hungarian Defence Ministry commented on state news agency MTI that the country didn’t intend to buy the HIMARS systems, stating that the previous government “requested information about HIMARS missile systems in a letter with a March 2022 deadline,” but didn’t receive an answer from the US.

Whether or not the sale includes the HIMARS systems, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Jim Risch, a Republican senator from Idaho, blocked it due to Hungary’s delay in approving Sweden’s application for NATO membership. Risch said in a statement that “Hungary should take the actions necessary to allow Sweden into the alliance, and soon.” He also mentioned that Hungary made promises on the matter in 2022 and is yet to fulfil them.

Risch has the power to block the sale as the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Under US laws, big arm deals are reviewed by the Democrats and Republicans heads of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Their opinions can delay or altogether stop arms deals.

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