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Mečiar-Horn meeting cancelled; SNS may be reason why

A bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar and Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn, scheduled for August 13, has been postponed indefinitely by Slovakia, Hungarian and Slovak media reported. Horn said on Hungarian TV on August 11 that issues on the meeting's agenda included the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia, the Gabčíkovo dam, bilateral cooperation in privatization and European integration efforts. One Hungarian daily speculated that Mečiar called off the meeting because a junior party in the governing coalition strongly objected to the meeting.

The Hungarian report referred to statements from the Slovak National Party (SNS), which on August 12 strongly criticized Horn for saying the previous day that the joint declaration approved at the July Budapest summit does not contain anything that could offend neighboring countries. Horn also stressed that the document, which some see as supporting autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in other countries, is in harmony with both the government's program and European norms and does not conflict with the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. The SNS said it is "very dangerous" for Hungary's official representative to openly endorse the joint declaration, which demands territorial autonomy for Hungarians living in neighboring countries as a condition for maintaining their identity.

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