Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hungary's Foreign Minister Seeks West's Cooperation INTERVIEW

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hungary's Foreign Minister Seeks West's Cooperation INTERVIEW

Article excerpt

AS Hungarian Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky contemplates the world from his office on the Danube River embankment, the view is a sobering one.

To the south, Yugoslavia disintegrates; to the east, Russia and Ukraine argue over who will control the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and the disposition of nuclear weapons; to the north, Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel struggles to keep his country together.

The sweeping changes in Europe have given impetus to post-communist Hungary's major foreign policy goal: the "reintegration," as Mr. Jeszenszky puts it, of Hungary "into the democratic community of nations."

The two-year-old center-right government aims "to be recognized as a Western nation in every sense," Jeszenszky says. "I think we have achieved it." He notes Hungary's admission to the Council of Europe and its signing of an association agreement with the European Community.

"Hungary fully supports all the aims of the EC from the ... Maastricht summit," Jeszenszky says. "Only economic obstacles remain: The present state of the Hungarian economy does not allow us to be full members."

Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia have moved to coordinate policy toward the EC and Western aid, and the nations are working to create a free-trade zone, Jeszenszky notes. The three have cooperated in initiatives to the EC and the Group of Seven industrialized nations. They also participate in the Central European Initiative, or "Hexagonale," which includes Italy, Austria, and Yugoslavia. The troika "has limited aims," Jeszenszky says. "It is not going to be a bloc in any way."

Calling the Yugoslav crisis a "tragedy for Europe and for the people concerned," Jeszenszky laments that the Hungarian minorities in Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia "are forced to take part in wars they don't want." Hungary has also been affected by the loss of its lucrative Yugoslav trade and the cutoff of the Adriatic oil pipeline that flows through Croatia. Budapest's only other oil and gas pipeline comes from the former Soviet Union. Western diplomats in Budapest say the Adriatic pipeline is scheduled to reopen soon.

While Hungary has kept good relations with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia, Jeszenszky says, "the people running Serbia . …

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