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Slovakia: Culture Ministry Says All Minorities Treated Equally

By Genvieve Zalatorius

Bratislava, 19 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Slovakia's Culture Ministry State Secretary Pavol Panis says Slovakia treats all minorities equally, and will continue to support minority schools, newspapers and ethnic TV broadcasts.

At a Bratislava conference today on national minorities, Panis said the government "is interested in maintaining the diversity of Slovakia." The meeting was co-sponsored by the government and the Council of Europe.

Western officials have criticized Slovakia's political reform process. And, in order to qualify for an expanded European Union, EU parliamentarians this week gave Bratislava until the end of November to implement changes in policy, including to prepare legislation on the use of national minority languages.

Slovakia's large ethnic Hungarian population this week also noted a government decision to issue final school report cards, only in the Slovak language. Previously, they had been issued in both Slovak and Hungarian.