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Hungary/Poland: NATO Expansion Plans Welcomed, Cheered

Budapest/Warsaw; 8 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Political leaders in Poland and Hungary are expressing pleasure at news from Madrid that NATO leaders reached a consensus today on inviting their nations, along with the Czech Republic, to begin accession talks.

News reports say members of Hungary's Parliament broke into cheers when the news came during question time.

In Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told reporters that today "has a good chance of going down in history as the end of the order established at Yalta."

The World War II allied powers, including the Soviet Union, divided Europe into spheres of influence in 1945 at a meeting at Yalta.

In Prague, Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec also mentioned the passing of Yalta as well the 1938 Munich agreement after which Czechoslovakia first lost borderlands and then was absorbed by Nazi Germany. Zieleniec called the invitation from NATO one of the most important developments in the Czech Republic since the fall of communism.