Vol. 1, No. 76, 18 July1997
POLAND PLANS TO BEGIN NATO TALKS IN SEPTEMBER. Polish Foreign
Minister Dariusz Rosati announced on 17 July that his country will
begin formal discussions on its admission into NATO in September.
Rosati set the date after receiving a letter from NATO Secretary-
General Javier Solana. The letter confirmed Poland's invitation to join
the alliance. North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders meeting in
Madrid on July 8-9 extended an invitation for NATO membership to
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER WARNS AGAINST EUROPEAN DIVISIONS.
Josef Zieleniec told journalists in Prague on 17 July that divisions
should not be allowed to arise in Europe between those countries
invited to join the European Union and NATO, and those that have
not yet been invited. He said there is a need to prevent the
impression that the countries which have been included in a first
wave of accession talks are now turning their backs on rejected
applicants. Zieleniec said he would discuss this issue in Prague on 18
July with the foreign ministers of Poland and Hungary. All three
countries have been invited to open talks with NATO and have been
named as front-runners for talks on joining the EU. He said it is
important to make use of all tools for cooperation with those states
not invited to be in the first wave.
SLOVAKIA REACTS TO EU ASSESSMENT. A foreign ministry statement
on 17 July said the recent assessment of the situation in Slovakia by
the European Union Commission does not "fully depict the real state
of political life" in the country. The European Commission on 16 July
said that the country's political reforms are not far enough advanced
to allow its inclusion in a first round of EU enlargement talks. It said
the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar had insufficient
regard for the constitution, the rights of the opposition, and for
Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian minority. Meciar said on Slovak
Television that the Commission's assessment is not a "catastrophe."
He noted a final decision on a first group of EU invitees will be made
by EU heads of state in December. Both the opposition and President
Michal Kovac have harshly criticized the government. Kovac said in a
radio speech that the Meciar government had foiled the hopes of the
HUNGARY PLEDGES FLOOD AID TO NEIGHBORS. The Hungarian
government on 17 July pledged 350 million forints ( $1.8 million) in
disaster relief for Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Reuters
reported from Budapest. Government spokesman Elemer Kiss told
reporters that the government decided to provide food and
pharmaceuticals worth 250 million forints and an additional 100
million forints to cover other expenses, such as transportation. Kiss
told reporters that Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz
told his Hungarian counterpart Gyula Horn in a telephone
conversation that the floods in his country were the most severe "not
of the century, but of the millennium."
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