Parties warn Kosovo secession to break up Slovakia

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia-The Slovak senior ruling party Smer-Social Democracy and its coalition partner, the nationalist Slovak National Party, warned independence for Serbia's disputed province of Kosovo could spark secession of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarians, TA3 TV reported Monday.

"The Hungarian minority or its politicians could view Kosovo as a model and this is not a good precedent for Slovakia," Boris Zala, a Smer-Social democracy official and head of the Slovak parliament's foreign relations committee, was quoted as saying.

More than 500,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Slovakia's south and southeast, just outside neighboring Hungary. They account for about 10 percent of Slovakia's 5 million population.

 

U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari Friday revealed a U.N. blueprint that would offer Kosovo supervised statehood.

Zala said the draft document on Kosovo's future status "should be followed by many measures."

"All the countries involved should receive assurances that this model of limited sovereignty would not be applicable to other territories in the Balkans or elsewhere in Europe," he said.

But Bela Bugar, the head of the Hungarian Coalition party representing the minority's interests in the Slovak parliament, dismissed Zala's claims as "absurd."

"We have never had any separatist tendencies. We have never proposed anything that would threaten Slovakia's interests," Bugar was quoted as saying.

Anna Belousovova, a official of the nationalist Slovak National Party described Ahtisaari's plan as dangerous because it "it envisages the change of the border to the benefit of an ethnic minority."

"An ethnic minority in Serbia would actually carve away a part of the country's territory and would do this under the assistance of international bodies," Belousovova said.

"It is very dangerous because it envisages the change of the border to the benefit of an ethnic minority. The alarming element is that under the plan, an ethnic minority in Serbia would actually achieve the cession of part of the country's territory and would do this under the assistance of European bodies," Anna Belousovova from the SNS says.

There are certain signals that the Hungarians in Slovakia could try to achieve something similar, she says.

"I remember very well how Miklos Duray from the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) sent congratulations to Koso Albanians pointing out that it would be they who would test the possibility of such a path," Belousovova says.

The Slovak Foreign Ministry has not yet officially commented on the U.N. plan for Kosovo.

However, the fears of the Slovak Hungarians' separatist efforts have caused indignation of SMK chairman Bela Bugar.

"We have never had any separatist tendencies. This is absolute absurdity. We have never proposed anything that would threaten the interests of Slovakia," Bugar said angrily.

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