The Slovak foreign ministry on September 17 summoned the Hungarian ambassador to Slovakia, Jenő Boros, and handed him a protest note against what it called a concerted campaign to discredit Slovakia.
"The Slovak government is, with extraordinary indignation, recording a broad and intensive discrediting campaign unleashed against it by Hungarian political representatives," the note said, according to a ministry statement.
Hungary rejected both the allegations of a smear campaign and the call to apologize. "We regard those conditionalities as totally lacking any foundation and Hungary does not feel it has to comply with those conditions," Hungarian foreign ministry spokesman Gábor Horváth said. Relations are strained to the point that the Slovak government cancelled a meeting between the Slovak and Hungarian foreign ministers, scheduled for the September 20-21 weekend.
Slovak Foreign Minister Zdenka Kramplová was due to have met Foreign Minister László Kovács in Budapest to discuss a nine-point plan for implementation of a basic treaty signed in 1995 between the two countries.
According to Boros, Budapest bears no responsibility for cancelling the meeting, "which could have been an important opportunity for both countries to explain their positions," the Slovak news agency TASR quoted him as saying.
The scrapped rendezvous is the latest escalation in a war of words between the neighbors after Slovak Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar revealed that he had proposed to the Hungarians a repatriation exchange of each side's ethnic minorities.
Mečiar later denied there were any plans to expel Hungarians and said he was merely saying Hungary could take in any of its ethnic kin who wished to leave and could let loose any ethnic Slovaks who wished to leave Hungary.
25. Sep 1997 at 0:00 | Jan Krcmar