RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 27, 10 February 1998
HUNGARIAN PREMIER DENIES ACCUSATIONS OVER DAM DECISION. In a 9 February
interview with Hungarian Television, Gyula Horn denied accusations that the
government is willing to make "obstinate and hasty decisions" over the
Nagymaros-Gabcikovo Danube hydropower project. Horn said that working out a
solution will take four years and that another fours years will be needed
to carry out the project in line with the International Court of Justice's
ruling. He also denied that the project would cost 600 billion forints ($3
billion), arguing that half of that sum would suffice. Meanwhile, Hungarian
media reported that Hungarian and Slovak negotiators, meeting in Budapest
on 9 February, failed to reach an agreement on the mutual waiving of
compensation claims. MSZ
CENTRAL EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTERS ON IRAQI CRISIS. Hungarian Foreign
Minister Laszlo Kovacs told journalists in Washington on 9 February that
Hungary advocates a political solution to the Iraqi crisis but is prepared
to support "the international coalition with all available means," as, he
stressed, it did before and during the Gulf War. He confirmed that U.S.
requests for Hungarian support in logistics, transportation, and overflight
permission have been received from Washington, Hungarian media reported.
Czech Foreign Minister Jaroslav Sedivy said the Czech government will
discuss "appropriate support" for a U.S. strike against Iraq but added
that no action has so far been decided, CTK reported. Kovacs, Sedivy, and
Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek briefed U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright on their countries' preparations for joining NATO. They
are in Washington to lobby for ratification by the U.S. Senate of their
countries' membership in the alliance. MS
ROMANIA'S DEMOCRATS CHANGE POSITION ON EDUCATION LAW. Alexandru Sassu, the
chairman of the Democratic Party faction in the Chamber of Deputies, told
Mediafax on 9 February that his party wants the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania to "make a political declaration" pledging it will
"insist that all ethnic Hungarian children learn Romanian." Sassu said this
would contribute to "lowering the expected tension" of the debates about to
begin in the chamber on the amended version of the 1995 education law. The
Democrats are signatories to a December 1997 protocol in which all
coalition parties pledged to support amendments that are more liberal than
those passed by the Senate the same month. Observers say the Democrats'
latest shifts toward more nationalist positions suggest they are
contemplating early elections (see also "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 February
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