Vol. 1, No. 77, 21 July1997
CENTRAL EUROPEAN SUPPORT FOR SLOVAK MEMBERSHIP IN NATO,
EU. The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland
issued a joint statement in Prague on 18 July saying they want
Slovakia to be granted NATO and EU membership, CTK reported.
Darius Rosati of Poland said Slovakia's membership in the two
organizations is in Poland's interest in terms of its nationhood and
defense needs. He added that Slovakia can count on backing from
Poland. Hungary's Laszlo Kovacs said that any dividing line between
Hungary and Slovakia is out of the question, adding that Budapest
wants Slovak foreign policy to be pro-European and pro-Atlantic.
Josef Zieleniec of the Czech Republic said that Slovakia's foreign
policy standing is causing considerable concern in the Czech Republic.
He added that "it is impossible to imagine Slovakia remaining for a
long time outside the political and economic organizations that will
be joined by the Czech Republic."
HUNGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE. Christian Democratic People's Party
Chairman Gyoergy Giczy said on 18 July that he intends to dissolve
the party's parliamentary faction. He said the faction has distanced
itself from the party by refusing to follow policies set out by the
party leadership (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 July 1997). Giczy will
also ask parliamentary speaker Zoltan Gal to rescind the faction's
right to use the party's name. Meanwhile, Interior Minister and Free
Democrat leader Gabor Kuncze rejected founding party member
Gaspar Miklos Tamas's proposal that the party quit the governing
coalition and join the opposition until at least 2002. In a recent
opinion poll published by "Magyar Hirlap" on 19 July, the Free
Democrats received the support of only 9 percent of decided voters.
The Socialist Party led with 32 percent.
HUNGARIAN OFFICIALS ON "OPERATION BIRCH TREE." National
Security Committee Chairman Imre Konya has rejected accusations
that the civilian secret services conducted an unlawful operation
against politicians involved in the so-called "Operation Birch Tree"
scandal (see "RFE-RL Newsline", 12 June 1997), Hungarian media
reported on 19 July. Commenting on the committee's final report,
which was completed on 16 July, Konya and Ferenc Koeszeg of the
Free Democrats said they did not made the document public
immediately as Secret Services Minister Istvan Nikolits had wanted
to examine it for potential state or service secrets leaks. They also
said that one newspaper misled the public by reporting only on
irregularities by the Intelligence Office's staff. They stressed that the
report also points out errors committed by Nikolits and his
BILINGUAL SIGNS TAKEN DOWN IN ROMANIA. The Targu Mures
prefect on 19 July ordered that six signs in both the Hungarian and
Romanian languages be taken down. The prefect acted on the orders
of the government after unidentified persons painted the colors of
the Romanian national flag on the signs, which had been put the
previous day. The government says the signs have first to be
approved by the local government council. The Executive Committee
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania said on 20 July
that the dismantling of the signs "is in violation of international
accords signed by Romania" and "gravely affect the process of the
country's democratization." In line with a recent government
ordinance, bilingual signs are allowed where ethnic minorities make
up 20 percent or more of the population.
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