||RFE/RL NEWSLINE - 16 June 1997 (mind)
|| 66 sor
||RFE/RL NEWSLINE - 17 June 1997 (mind)
|| 93 sor
|+ - ||RFE/RL NEWSLINE - 16 June 1997 (mind)
Vol. 1, No. 53, 16 June1997
LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS WITH ALBRIGHT. Valdis Birkavs met with U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington on 13 June, one day after
the U.S. announced that its supports the inclusion of only the Czech Republic,
Hungary, and Poland in the first wave of NATO expansion. According to State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, Albright assured Birkavs that the door
will remain open for Latvian membership in NATO after the July summit in
Madrid. Birkavs, for his part, said Latvia "fully supports" the U.S.'s
decision in a "process that has to remain, and we are sure will remain,
inclusive." He added that Riga "firmly believes that NATO enlargement will not
be complete until the Baltic states...are members of the alliance." Birkavs
was in the U.S. capital on a three-day visit to push for NATO membership for
all three Baltic States.
POLAND DETAINS A RECORD NUMBER OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Polish border guards
13 June detained 46 Sri Lankan nationals trying to enter Poland illegally from
Ukraine. The PAP news agency quoted a border guard official as saying the
illegal immigrants were found huddled in a Ukrainian truck in a secret
compartment covered with bags of corn. The official said a growing number of
mostly Asian illegal immigrants traveling westward have been detained in
Poland over the past few months. Meanwhile, Hungarian Defense Minister Gyoergy
Kaleti is due to begin a three-day official visit to Poland on 16 June.
SLOVAK PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON NATO, EARLY ELECTIONS. Michal Kovac says he
believes the U.S.'s 12 June decision to support the candidacy of the Czech
Republic, Hungary, and Poland for NATO expansion could put greater pressure on
the Slovak government to persuade the West that it, too, belongs to the first
group. He was speaking at a 14 June press conference in Budapest, where he
delivered a speech in honor of Frantisek Cardinal Tomasek, a Czech catholic
primate, who posthumously was awarded St. Adalbert Award. The previous day,
Kovac told journalists in Bratislava he was ready to conduct talks with
Premier Vladimir Meciar. The premier proposed meeting with Kovac after the
opposition snubbed his invitation to attend a round-table discussion on
current problems facing Slovakia. Kovac also said early elections should be
called to resolve the present deadlock in the country.
FURTHER HUNGARIAN REACTIONS TO U.S. DECISION ON NATO ENLARGEMENT.
Minister Gyula Horn told a public gathering in Nyirbator, east Hungary, on 13
June that his country's possible admission to NATO in the first wave of
enlargement is "a kind of recompense" for Hungary's "sufferings and
achievements during the transition period," Hungarian media reported . Also on
13 June, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told AFP during a visit to Germany
that he did not consider the U.S. decision not to invite Romania and Slovenia
to join NATO in the first wave as final. He said there was no reason why
tensions with Romania should surface again if Bucharest fails in its bid to be
admitted now, because both Budapest and representatives of the Hungarian
minority who visited Washington have done "their utmost" to advocate Romania's
inclusion in the first wave.
JEWISH CEMETERY DESECRATED IN HUNGARY. Hungarian police reported on 13 June
that a Jewish cemetery in the northern town Balassagyarmat was desecrated
ahead of a commemoration of Holocaust victims scheduled for the next day.
Vandals smashed one tombstone and uprooted several others. They also smeared
swastikas and Nazi slogans over the tombstones and surrounding fence, AFP
reported. A statement release by the Federation of Jewish Communities
expressed "shock" and said the incident was the result of the authorities'
past failure to make full use of the law against "anti-Semites and racists."
Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
All rights reserved.
|+ - ||RFE/RL NEWSLINE - 17 June 1997 (mind)
Vol. 1, No. 54, 17 June1997
PRESIDENT SAYS SITUATION IN SLOVAKIA VERY SERIOUS. In an interview published
in the 16 June issue of the Hungarian daily "Magyar Hirlap," Slovak President
Michal Kovac said the situation in Slovakia is very serious. He noted that the
economic growth of the past several years has stopped and that it is
increasingly difficult to attract Western investors. Kovac argued that this is
mainly due to political discord and social tensions. Kovac admitted there are
big differences between himself and Premier Vladimir Meciar but said that he
alone could not resolve this situation. He also argued that he can fulfill his
role only if the government gives him the necessary powers. "However, Vladimir
Meciar would not give them to me or is unable to do so, since he does not
consider me an equal partner. My work resembles a struggle against windmills,"
BOMB DEFUSED AT HUNGARIAN COALITION PARTY OFFICE. Police on 16 June defused
time-bomb placed on the window sill of a Budapest district office of the
Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), Hungarian media reported. The home-made
bomb was rendered inactive an hour before it was set to explode, after an
anonymous caller alerted a neighbor. Police say the incident was the fourth
bomb attempt this year against offices of the two parties belonging to the
government coalition. In March, a bomb, together with a letter and a Hungarian
national flag, was left at another SZDSZ district office but was defused.
Police suspect that national extremist groups were behind both this and the 16
THE LAST WORD ON NATO EXPANSION?
by Paul Goble
Washington's decision to support invitations for only three countries i
first round of NATO expansion is almost certainly definitive. But European
support for inviting as many as five new members at the July summit in Madrid
may provide an opportunity for some countries not included in either plan to
receive a public timetable for their inclusion in future rounds of expansion.
That possibility is likely to drive much of the diplomatic activity in Eastern
Europe over the next few weeks.
On 12 June, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a statement indicating t
Washington would support issuing invitations to Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic in the first round of expansion of the Western alliance. Clinton's
statement came in the week of suggestions by nine European NATO members that
Slovenia and Romania should also be invited now. It appears to have ended the
discussion, even though it clearly angered many Europeans both inside and
outside the alliance.
The following day, Neris Germanas, the foreign policy adviser to Lithua
President Algirdas Brazauskas, told journalists that the U.S. declaration,
while likely definitive, is not an end to the matter. Germanas suggested that
the differences between the U.S. and some of its NATO allies on whether the
number of new members should be three or five might give Lithuania, its Baltic
neighbors and other East European states a chance to extract a promise for the
future. What Vilnius is looking for, he went on to suggest, is a commitment by
the alliance to include the Baltic countries as members in the second or, at
worst, third round.
Germanas' suggestion is nothing new. During the past two years, Lithuan
officials have urged the Western alliance to identify all the countries that
will be invited eventually and then indicate when any particular one will be
included. Such a strategy--called by some the "first who, then when"
approach--would give a kind of surrogate security to countries not included in
an early round and would prevent the emergence of an insecure gray zone
between the alliance and Russia.
What makes the Lithuanian suggestion especially interesting is that Vil
has been very much opposed to the proposals of some European countries to take
in five, as opposed to three. Like some Europeans and many Americans,
Lithuanians have been very frank in expressing their view that inviting five
new members now would almost certainly delay a second round, if not rule out
any possibility of future growth altogether. That is because many in the West
would see such a step as somehow final owing to the reactions it would produce
both at home and in Russia and owing to the difficulties and expense current
members would face in absorbing five rather than three.
Germanas's comment indicates that the Lithuanian government is clearly
calculating that differences between Washington and some of its European
allies open the door to negotiations. Vilnius is thus likely to step up its
campaign for a declaration that a second round will take place at a precisely
defined time and that the alliance is prepared to declare that Lithuania will
be invited to join at that time.
Whether that strategy will work or whether the Lithuanians are taking t
step because they do not know what else to do remains to be seen. But their
approach means that the 12 June U.S declaration may be the last word on the
first round of NATO expansion. But it almost certainly will not be the last
one on the question of the future growth of the Western defense alliance.
Copyright (c) 1997 RFE/RL, Inc.
All rights reserved.