Vol. 1, No. 84, 30 July 1997
RUSSIA TO REPAY DEBTS TO HUNGARY. Russia will repay $320-380
million of the $650 million it owes Hungary by the end of this year,
while the remainder will be paid in equal installments between 1998
and 2000, Hungarian media reported on 30 July. The agreement was
reached by Hungarian Industry, Trade, and Tourism Minister Fazakas
Szabolcs during his visit to Moscow on 28-29 July. The two sides
agreed that Russia will continue to make payments in the form of
military equipment and consumer or industrial goods. Fazakas and
his hosts also agreed on a $10 million credit to increase Hungarian
exports to that country.
TOBACCO COMPANIES TO PAY FOR HEALTH DAMAGE IN HUNGARY?
Hungarian Welfare Minister Mihaly Koekeny suggested on 29 July
that tobacco companies pay compensation for health damage caused
by smoking, Hungarian media reported. The arrangement, similar to
the recent U.S. draft agreement, would ensure tobacco companies of
immunity from lawsuits regarding damage to health. The minister
said smoking causes health damage totaling 90 billion forints ($475
million) each year in Hungary, including the costs of health care.
Foreign tobacco companies say Koekeny's proposal is not feasible
under present conditions, since taxes on cigarette sales are twice as
high in Hungary as in the U.S.
CLUJ MAYOR ACCUSED OF INTER-ETHNIC INCITEMENT. Alexandru
Farcas, the prefect of Cluj, on 29 July asked the Prosecutor-General's
office to open an investigation into the local nationalist mayor,
Gheorghe Funar. He accused Funar of having instigated the incident
in which a Hungarian flag was stolen from the Hungarian consulate
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 1997). He said if the mayor is found
guilty, he will be dismissed. Funar, for his part, said he will sue
Farcas for slander, RFE/RL's correspondent in Cluj reported. The
previous day, Funar had addressed open letters to Prime Minister
Ciorbea and Foreign Minister Adrian Severin demanding that the
government abolish the ordinance allowing bilingual signs, declare
the Hungarian consul in Cluj "persona non grata" in Romania, and
close the recently opened consulate.
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