Vol. 1, No. 31, 15 May1997
REACTIONS TO RUSSIAN-NATO AGREEMENT. Czech
President Vaclav Havel told reporters in Washington that
he welcomes the Russian-NATO "founding act," signed in
Moscow yesterday. But he urged the U.S. to limit
concessions to Russia on future deployment of military
forces and equipment in new member states. Polish Foreign
Minister Dariusz Rosati said in Warsaw that his country
welcomes the agreement but will seek some form of
representation on the new council to be set up by Moscow
and NATO. Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn, speaking to
reporters in Germany, also welcomed the Russian-NATO
partnership deal. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs
told reporters in Budapest he believed the agreement
would not create any difficulties for those countries that
wanted to join NATO. Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol Hamzik
said during a visit to Poland that he is satisfied with the
agreement. Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Severin told
Romanian Radio yesterday that Budapest hopes the
agreement refers only to relations between NATO and
Russia and not to the future of other countries, which, he
said, must be free to make their own choices.
BALTIC STATES CAUTIOUS ABOUT RUSSIAN-NATO
AGREEMENT. Lithuanian Parliamentary Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis told journalists yesterday that his country--
as a prospective member of NATO--would like to see the
text of the Russian-NATO agreement before it is signed in
Paris on 27 May. A senior Latvian diplomat told Reuters
that "the very fact that NATO and Russia are cooperating is
good...so long as they do not use Baltic membership [in
NATO] as a bargaining chip." A spokesman for the Estonian
Foreign Ministry told journalists that "the fact that Russia
and NATO have made a step in developing their relations is
positive." Estonian President Lennart Meri, on a visit to
Hungary, said yesterday he was hopeful about the latest
Russia-NATO talks but urged the alliance to commit itself
to welcoming new East European members in future years.
He also said Russia was still "an evil empire" and called on
former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact states to
SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER SEES NO ALTERNATIVE TO
NATO MEMBERSHIP. Pavol Hamzik, speaking at a joint
session of the foreign committees of the bicameral Polish
parliament yesterday, said full-fledged membership in
NATO and the EU is the only possibility for Slovakia, Polish
and Slovak media reported. Commenting on the possibility
that Slovakia will be left out of the first wave of NATO
expansion, Hamzik said "we in Slovakia do not have the
feeling that we have not accomplished something. Slovakia
was in a more difficult position than the Czech Republic,
Poland, and Hungary, and we have still attained good
results in economic transformation." Hamzik told reporters
later that "the main political forces in the country favor
Slovakia's entry into NATO and that 54% of citizens support
it." He also met with President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
AGREEMENT ON U.S. TROOPS STATIONED IN HUNGARY.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs and U.S.
Ambassador to Budapest Donald Blinken yesterday signed
an agreement on the status of U.S. soldiers stationed on
Hungarian territory, Budapest dailies report. Kovacs said
the agreement is a compromise that breaches neither
Hungarian nor U.S. laws. Hungary is the first non-NATO
country to sign a comprehensive accord on the presence of
U.S. armed forces that have an IFOR/SFOR mandate.
However, once that mandate expires, the parliament will
have to pass separate resolutions on the presence of U.S.
troops in the country.
CLUJ LOCAL COUNCIL CRITICIZES MAYOR. A majority on
the Cluj municipal council has criticized nationalist Mayor
Gheorghe Funar for demanding the cancellation of
Hungarian President Arpad Goencz's planned visit to the
city (see RFE/RL Newsline, 13 May 1997). In a statement
published in the local press, the councilors say they will
not grant permission for the mayor to organize
demonstrations against the visit. The council also says that
Funar has received false information from "dubious
historians" since a book he attributes to Goencz and calls
"irredentist" was only translated by the Hungarian
president and was, in fact, written before World War II.
Meanwhile, Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabor
Szentivanyi, said Funar's protest was an "isolated case" and
that the majority of Romanian political parties, as well as
the population, back the "positive trends" in the two
countries' relations, MTI reported.
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