OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 88, 6 May 1996
EXPLOSION OUTSIDE SLOVAK ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADER'S HOUSE. A hand grenade
exploded early on 5 May outside the house of Bela Bugar, chairman of the
Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement and a leading opponent of the
Slovak government, Slovak and international media reported. No one was
injured in the blast, which occurred in the town of Samorin, near
Bratislava, and damage was minimal. Bugar told Narodna obroda that the
explosion may have been a warning for him, adding that he has received
telephone and mail threats connected with his investigations into
organized crime. Bugar accused the government of remaining silent
despite a recent increase in such attacks. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PREMIER BLAMES HUNGARY FOR TREATY DELAY. Vladimir Meciar on 3 May
blamed Hungary for the delay in the exchange of the ratification
documents of the Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty, the Hungarian news
agency MTI reported. In his regular Friday evening radio interview,
Meciar said Hungary wants to "extend a protective arm toward the
citizens of another sovereign country." He stressed that the Slovak
parliament will submit the Slovak version of the treaty in its current
form to the president for signing. A spokesman for the Hungarian Foreign
Affairs Ministry told Magyar Hirlap on 3 May that the international
community would like to see an exchange of ratification documents as
early as possible, adding that "those organizations are aware that it is
not Hungary that is delaying this process." -- Zsofia Szilagyi
ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY ADOPTS "BLITZ STRATEGY." The chauvinistic
Greater Romania Party (PRM), at its third national convention in
Bucharest on the weekend, unanimously adopted a "blitz strategy" in the
event that it comes to power after the fall general elections, Romanian
media reported. The party's top priority would be to change the
country's constitution to allow for "the confiscation of property
improperly acquired." It would also seek to exert strict control over
foreign investors and to outlaw the "anti-Romanian" Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania. The PRM protested alleged pressures on party
chairman Corneliu Vadim Tudor to withdraw his candidacy for the Romanian
Presidency. Tudor's parliamentary immunity was recently lifted by the
Senate for offending the authorities (see OMRI Daily Digest, 23 April
1996). -- Matyas Szabo
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Jan Cleave
Monday, 06 May 1996
Volume 1, Issue 342
NATO Reassures Romania
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana on Friday attempted to
reassure Romania it was not forgotten in the alliance's
expansion plans. There is a widespread view among NATO
diplomats that Romania is trailing other former East Bloc
states vying to join the Atlantic Alliance, especially
neighbouring Hungary. But Solana insisted it was too early to
rule anyone out or in.
Bucharest was Solana's last stop on a tour which has included
Prague, Bratislava, Tirana and Sofia. He met the Romania's
foreign, defence and prime minister as well as President Ion
Iliescu in a six-hour stopover. Solana dismissed accusations
that NATO is hesitating because of Russian interference, but
insisted bilateral relations with Russia must be maintained.
The Romanian government, whose entire post-communist foreign
and defence policy relvolves around membership in NATO and the
European Union, was desperate for reassurance from Solana that
Romania is not written out of the schedule. Solana said NATO
appreciated that Romania had been the first country to join
its Partnership for Peace program, designed to draw former
East Bloc states towards the alliance's umbrella. Solana also
mentioned Romania's contribution to NATO peacekeeping forces
in former Yugoslavia.
A stumbling block for Romania is the current lack of treaties
with Hungary, Ukraine and Russia. Setting aside old
territorial and other disputes is a precondition for NATO and
Hungarian Politician Suing Romanian Minister
Hungarian nationalist politician Jozsef Torgyan will sue
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, apparently for
suggesting Torgyan had Romanian ancestors.
"Mr Torgyan said both in a letter and a fax that it was his
intention to sue the Romanian foreign minister," Ion Donca,
the Romanian ambassador to Hungary, told Reuters on Friday.
"He said the minister had offended his personality rights."
Torgyan, the outspoken chairman of the Hungarian opposition
Smallholder's Party (FKGP), was not immediately available for
comment but his adviser, Andras Varhelyi, confirmed his
intention to sue.
Donca said Torgyan attached to his letter a copy of an article
published in the Hungarian daily Uj Magyarorszag in which
Melescanu said Torgyan was likely to be of Romanian descent.
Donca said he had forwarded Torgyan's letter to his government
in Bucharest but he believed the case would not harm relations
between the two countries.
"Romanian-Hungarian relations, thank God, are on such a
positive path that a thing like this cannot disturb them," he
The two countries, which have long had tense relations over the
treatment of Romania's 1.6-million-strong Hungarian minority,
are engaged in negotiations about a basic treaty.
The Hungarian MTI news agency said Torgyan, whose FKGP is the
largest opposition party in Hungary's parliament, wanted to
carry the case to Bucharest in the hope that his presence
there could have a positive impact on the situation of the
"It matters that the FKGP chairman, as a Hungarian politician
not separable from the cause of Hungarians, should request a
legal remedy from a Romanian court," MTI quoted him as saying.
Torgyan caused a storm on the eve of the Hungary's national day
last month when he described the current Socialist-led
government as "pseudo-liberal disgusting worms and vultures."
A poll published this week indicated that as a result of the
speech his popularity had sunk 10 percentage points to last
position among 24 well-known politicians.
Hungarian King And Queen Celebrate 1000 Years
Thousands of Hungarian Catholics squeezed into a tiny cobbled
square in the west Hungarian town of Veszprem to see relics of
the country's first king and his queen brought together for
their one thousandth wedding anniversary on Saturday.
In a ceremony of deep religious and national significance,
unthinkable before the end of communism years ago, the
preserved hand of King Istvan, who died in 1038, and an arm
bone from his wife Queen Gisela were paraded outside Veszprem
basilica in elaborate glass and gold cases.
The bones of Gisela were brought to Hungary on Friday from her
tob in Passau, Germany, where she was buried at her death nine
centuries ago. Following an open-air mass in brilliant spring
sunshine, the relics were taken into the basilica where they
will lay on display together until Sunday morning.
"I'm so proud to live just when this has happened and to be
part of it," said Anita Koszegi, a teacher at a Catholic
school in the town of Papa, 40 kilometres away. "It's a
The ceremony was attended by clergy from Hungary and Bavaria.
Also attending was Otto Hapsburg, the son of the last king of
Hungary, Karoly, who was deposed in 1918 by Hungary's first
The event marked more than the occasion of the royal wedding of
May 4, 996, which confirmed the political alliance between the
German empire and the Hungarian principality. It also
celebrated the one thousandth anniversary of the diocese of
Veszprem, which Gisela herself founded as the coronation seat
of Hungary's queens.
The event forms part of this year's 1100th anniversary of the
founding of the Hungarian state, but for 75-year-old Arpad
Nemeth, the upcoming fortieth anniversary of the 1956
Hungarian Uprising in October has more personal significance.
Because Nemeth, a doctor, was a practicing Christian, he was
arrested in 1948 and subsequently jailed for six years by
Hungary's Stalinesque leader Matyas Rakosi. Nemeth then took
part in the 1956 anti-Rakosi uprising, which was suppressed by
the Soviet military. For Nemeth, the sensation of being able
to freely celebrate such a profound event in his home town was
an emotional one.
"I haven't felt this happy since those few days of freedom in
the 1956 revolution," he said, fighting back tears.
The idea of bringing back a relic of Gisela for the anniversary
came from the Archbishop of Veszprem, Jozsef Szgndi. In
January, he wrote to Passau's Bishop Franz Xaver Eder
requesting him to send a part of Gisela's right hand to lay
beside the hand of her sainted husband one thousand years
after their marriage. Bishop Eder agreed and also sent a bone
fron the queen's upper arm.
Saint Istvan's right hand was brought from Budapest Basilica on
Saturday morning in a white armoured van with apolice escort,
carrying the Hungarian and Vatican flags. The convoy screeched
into the square, sirens wailing, fifteen minutes before the
Since the end of communism Saint Istvan's hand has led
religious processions around Budapest every year on August 20,
the founding day of the kingdom of Hungary. The remains of
Gisela will now be kept in Veszprem, while Saint Istvan's hand
will return to Budapest on Sunday.
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