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IN SHORT

SMK criticized for past controversy

OPPOSITION parties Smer and Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) criticized the ruling Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) leader Béla Bugár for his recent statements to the Hungarian mediaabout the Košice Governmental Programme .

Bugár said that Slovak officials today should condemn and apologize to Hungarians for the programme, which followed World War II. Under the programme, which lasted from 1945 to 1948, many Hungarian nationals were repatriated and many lost property in Slovakia.

According to Robert Fico of Smer, however, Bugár should not be talking about this issue at all. He said that Bugár's statements are at odds with Slovak foreign policy on this issue, the TASR news agency reported.

Fico added that Bugár should think about the appropriateness of asking his own government to apologize to Hungarians for actions taken by the transitional post-World War II Czechoslovak government.

Smer thinks that the Košice Governmental Programme and similar measures, collectively known as the Beneš decrees, are historical documents and "political and the legal pillars of the former Czechoslovakia", according to Fico.

The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry recently stated that it considered the Beneš decrees to be a matter of the past and several politicians' across the spectrum agreed that historians rather than politicians should evaluate it.

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