SLOVAKIA hopes to make some progress in 2006 in the long-running dispute between Slovakia and Hungary on the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric power-station system and push forward negotiations on implementing the International Court of Justice verdict issued in the Hague in 1997.

The negotiations will be held at the level of bilateral legal, technical, and economic working groups, and as well as at the level of government delegations.

"The main aim of the negotiations with Hungary is to reach an agreement that will be in line with the International Court of Justice's verdict. It also should fulfill the main objectives of the contract on the construction of the of the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Waterworks signed between Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1977," reads a Slovak foreign policy report approved by the cabinet.

This year's general elections in both countries (in September in Slovakia and in April in Hungary), will probably have an influence on the future of this bilateral agreement.

Hungary backed out of the contract after 1989 asserting that the construction would result in serious ecological and environment damage in the surrounding areas.

Slovakia then went ahead with an alternative solution and put only the Gabčíkovo hydroelectric plant into operation. Later on, both countries appealed to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

The court issued a verdict that both countries had breached the legal obligations signed in 1977 which undertook to harness the River Danube to generate electricity, prevent flooding and provide better navigation, and ordered them to continue negotiations in order to arrive at a binding treaty that took into consideration all the post-1989 changes.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.