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Slovakia: Meciar And Carnogursky Agree To Discussion Of Domestic Issues

Bratislava, 13 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar signed an agreement today in Bratislava with the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, former Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky. The accord concerns on opening of discussion among all parties seated in Parliament on disputed domestic policy issues.

Carnogursky says these include issues raised recently by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and European Union (EU) commissioner Leon Brittan while on visits to Bratislava. He quotes Meciar as saying the EU representatives told him that unless Slovakia resolves certain issues talks on the admission of Slovakia to the EU cannot even begin.

Carnogursky says these issues include the expulsion from parliament of a dissenting deputy of Meciar's party, Frantisek Gaulider, and the absence of the opposition from parliamentary committees on the news media, on privatization, and on the country's secret services. He says the failure to resolve various criminal cases, an apparent reference among other things to the 1995 kidnapping of Michel Kovac's son, Michail Junior, also should be discussed.

Nevertheless, attempts today by the opposition to once again raise these issues in parliament failed due to opposition from Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and its two coalition partners.

The last time Meciar met with Carnogursky was in early 1995. Today's meeting was hastily arranged this morning. Carnogursky told reporters he and Meciar also discussed a referendum due to be held later this month. The referendum contains three questions concerning Slovak membership in NATO. But Meciar's government has removed a fourth question on direct election of the President from the referendum. The constitutional court is expected to issue a decision later this week on the constitutionality of the fourth question.

Carnogrusky says he failed to reach agreement with Meciar on the fourth question, since his party insists it be included in the May 23-24 referendum.