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    Hungary and Sweden Agree on Defense Deal Ahead of Final Vote on Sweden’s NATO Accession

    Hungary and Sweden Agree on Defense Deal Ahead of Final Vote on Sweden's NATO Accession

    BUDAPEST, — The prime ministers of Hungary and concluded a defense industry agreement on Friday that will expand Budapest's fleet of Swedish-built fighter jets, paving the way for Hungary's likely ratification of Sweden's long-delayed bid.

    The meeting in Budapest between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, came after months of heightened tensions between the two countries over Hungary's refusal to give its backing for Sweden to join NATO.

    Kristersson made the trip to Hungary after repeated invitations to do so by the Hungarian government, something Orbán had hinted would be a precondition for his government endorsing Sweden's NATO bid.

    Friday's defense agreement appeared to be a decisive point of reconciliation between the two governments, and Orbán has indicated that his party is ready to approve Sweden's bid on Monday.

    In a news conference following their bilateral meeting, Kristersson said Sweden would sell four Swedish-made JAS 39 Gripen jets to Hungary, expanding its current fleet of 14 jets. Sweden will also extend support systems and service provision for the jets.

    “I strongly welcome this deepened cooperation on advanced fighting capabilities,” Kristersson said, adding that the Gripen jets are “a pride of Sweden.”

    Orbán said the additional fighters “will significantly increase our capabilities and further strengthen our role…

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