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1 RFE/RL NEWSLINE - 10 July 1997 (mind)  132 sor     (cikkei)

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RFE/RL NEWSLINE
 Vol 1, No. 70, 10 July 1997

MORE RUSSIAN REACTION TO NATO ENLARGEMENT. Russian officials
continue to express skepticism over NATO's decision to invite the
Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join, Russian media reported
on 9 July. Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov said in
Moscow that Russia does not wish to lose the "close ties it has had for
many years" with the new NATO members. He added that he did not
believe expansion would create a "truly stable and secure Europe for
the future century." Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Serov, who was in
Madrid for the inaugural session of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council, said the alliance's enlargement was an "errant step which
creates more problems than it solves." State Duma Speaker Gennadii
Seleznev, commenting on the possible admission of Baltic countries in
1999, said such a move would require Russia to review the NATO-
Russia Founding Act and possibly break the agreement. A delegation
from the Duma, which is opposed to NATO enlargement, is due to
visit NATO headquarters in Brussels on 13 July.

CZECH, HUNGARIAN, POLISH SUPPORT FOR BALTICS' NATO BID. The
presidents of the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland met briefly in Madrid on 9 July, one day after the three
Central European countries received invitations to join NATO. Reuters
reported that the Baltic leaders clasped hands with their Central
European counterparts in a symbolic gesture after the latter had
promised to fight for the Baltic cause within the alliance. Estonian
President Lennart Meri said the 8 July NATO declaration places the
Baltic States on an equal footing with Romania and Slovenia for a
second round of expansion, an RFE/RL correspondent in Madrid
reported. Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas said he believes
his country will be asked to join NATO in the second wave, while his
Latvian counterpart, Guntis Ulmanis, said he expects the Baltic States
will be invited to join NATO within five to seven years.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES NEIGHBORS OVER NATO
ENLARGEMENT DECISION. In a statement released to the media on 9
July, Michal Kovac congratulated the Czech Republic, Hungary, and
Poland for having been invited to join NATO, RFE/RL's Bratislava
office reported. Kovac said the Slovak government's policy is the
main reason why Slovakia has been left out of NATO. Meanwhile, the
recently formed coalition of five opposition parties said on 9 July
that Madrid "represents a total failure of [Prime Minister Vladimir]
Meciar's policy." Bela Bugar, a leader of the coalition of the ethnic
Hungarian parties, backed this stance. Two coalition parties--the
Slovak National Party and the Union of Slovak Workers--said they
were satisfied with the NATO decision because they do not want
Slovakia to be a member of the alliance. Meciar, who met with U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on 9 July, stressed again that
Slovakia is a victim of NATO's double standards over accepting new
members.

REPORT ON HUNGARIAN PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL MADE PUBLIC.
Members of Hungary's two governing parties released to the press on
9 July the report of the parliamentary commission that investigated
the so-called "Tocsik privatization scandal" (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
26 June 1997). The opposition had objected that the move would
violate the privacy of those mentioned in it, Hungarian media
reported. The document blames Imre Szokai, former chairman of the
State Privatization and Holding Company (APV), and senior legal
counselor Peter Liszkai for abusing their position when hiring the
financial consultant Marta Tocsik, despite a board resolution not to
make use of her services. Former Privatization Minister Tamas
Suchman is also blamed for interfering in the APV's personnel and
professional decisions. Commission chairman Tamas Deutch said the
coalition's attempts to reject the report's conclusions are an effort to
prevent establishing who bears political responsibility.

HUNGARY DISCUSSES HOW TO PREPARE FOR NATO ACCESSION.
Leading Hungarian politicians on 9 July expressed diverse views over
when a referendum on NATO membership should be held, Hungarian
dailies reported. Prime Minister Gyula Horn and Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs say the referendum should be conducted in the fall,
before the parliamentary elections. Parliamentary chairman Imre
Szekeres believes that a national vote should not take place until the
terms of accession are known, while Free Democrat faction leader
Istvan Szent-Ivanyi proposed the vote take place in the first quarter
of 1998, since the accession treaty is to be signed by then.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, arriving in
Budapest for a one-day visit, said all three states about to join the
alliance should spend more on restructuring their military
communications and control systems and less on "building expensive
arsenals."

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN MADRID. Emil Constantinescu told the
inaugural session of NATO's Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on 9
July that Romania has the "irrevocable desire" to participate in
deciding Europe's "security architecture" and to join NATO as soon as
possible. He said Romania was rediscovering her "historical vocation
as a mediator and as a point of convergence" in southeastern Europe.
He added that the basic treaties signed with Hungary and Ukraine
and the trilateral pacts signed with Ukraine and Moldova should help
build a "flexible and lasting structure" capable of preventing or at
least localizing potential conflicts. At a later press conference,
Constantinescu said he assumes "personal responsibility" for the
NATO-bid outcome and thanked in particular French President
Jacques Chirac for his support.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ENFORCES AMENDED EDUCATION LAW. The
government on 9 July approved an "urgent ordinance" amending the
education law, thereby postponing parliamentary debate on the issue
and allowing immediate implementation. The Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania had threatened to leave the ruling coalition if
the law were not enforced by ordinance, since debate in the
legislature would have prevented its implementation in time for
school year 1997-1998. George Pruteanu, the chairman of the
Senate's Education Commission and a member of the National Peasant
Party Christian Democratic, opposed the amended version, along with
other members of the ruling coalition parties. The amended law
abolishes the provisions whereby high-school final exams and
university entrance tests had to be in the Romanian language. It also
provides for education in the mother tongue at all levels, including
the instruction of history and geography. Under the previous version
of the law, both of those subjects had to be taught in Romanian.

TURKISH MINORITY PARTY WANTS BULGARIAN CONSTITUTION
AMENDED. Yunal Lyutvi, a leader of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedoms, says the constitution should be
amended to recognize the presence of a Turkish minority in the
country. He told a press conference in Sofia on 9 July that the present
basic law is "inadequate for the changes and challenges faced by
Bulgaria," Reuters reported. Also on 9 July, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Radko Vlaikov told reporters in Sofia that the invitations
issued the previous day to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland
to join NATO signifies that the alliance's doors are now wide open. He
expressed confidence that the country will be invited to join NATO in
the future if the reforms continue at the pace of recent months.

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