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Fico optimistic over Slovak-Hungarian relations

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed hopes that bilateral talks could contribute to easing political tensions between Slovakia and Hungary.

At the same time, Fico expressed a great deal of optimism about the future of Slovak-Hungarian relations. According to him, the issue of ethnic Hungarians living beyond Hungary's borders is highly important for the Hungarian political scene, and could have an impact on the stance and behavior of Budapest towards Slovakia. “We're ready to meet our Hungarian partners anywhere and discuss any issue,” he stressed.

The premier also pointed to the fact that Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has been invited to Slovakia following Fico's visit to Budapest. “Now it's time for the Hungarian Prime Minister to pay a visit to Slovakia. He'll be welcomed with all respect and seriousness, and I believe that such a visit will prove meaningful.”

Fico said that he is convinced that the Slovak Cabinet will do its best to prevent tension between the two countries from affecting relations between ordinary citizens. “There's no reason why any problem should arise in this area.”
What Fico does see as problematic, however, is the so-called Slovak question, i.e. the attitude taken by Slovaks to their own state, the level of their patriotism, and their approach to state symbols. “Just look at the divisions that historical figures and our relationship towards them causes. Some are viewed as traitors, while others are seen as heroes. This has to end, because we're 'depopulating' our history, which is the biggest sin we can commit.” With this in mind, the premier added that he wants the issue of the idea of the state to become an integral part of his Smer-SD party's policy. (Sktoday)