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Slovakia: Germany's Foreign Minister Arrives For NATO, EU Talks

Bratislava, 1 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel arrived in Bratislava this afternoon for talks today and tomorrow with Slovak leaders, including the country's president, prime minister, parliamentary speaker and foreign minister.

The talks are expected to focus on NATO expansion and on EU apprehension about accepting Slovakia as a member, as well as on bilateral issues.

Western governments have expressed concern over Bratislava's respect for law and due process as well as human rights and minority issues.

Last year, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl angered Slovak leaders by saying in an Austrian TV interview that Slovakia does not yet fulfill the conditions for joining the EU.

In a newspaper commentary yesterday, Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol Hamzik said remaining unresolved bilateral issues include compensation for Slovak victims of Nazi Germany. He said Slovakia would like better access to German markets and expressed disappointment at what he termed "recent stagnation" of German investment in Slovakia.

A delegation of German businesspeople and lawmakers are accompanying the German foreign minister. Kinkel is due to sign a bilateral cultural agreement and participate in ceremonies openning a new German Embassy building in Bratislava.