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Mečiar, Klaus: Czechoslovakia’s split could not be avoided

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Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) – The division of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago was inevitable as there was a long-standing tension between Czechs and Slovaks, former president Vaclav Klaus and former Slovak prime minister Vladimir Meciar, the crucial protagonists of the split, agreed in a public debate on Monday.

They stressed that the current relations between Czechs and Slovaks were exceptionally good, also thanks to the existence of two national states.

Meciar said Slovaks were always grateful to Czechs for their help in the development of Slovakia in the interwar period.

He said at the same time, they wanted to have a stronger position in the joint state.

Meciar said political talks on it had not brought any real success and even after the federation was formed in the late 1960s, the individual national governments only had weak powers.

Klaus said national discrepancies had not been discussed in Czechoslovakia, because the debate was suppressed by the Communist regime.

This was one of the reasons for which Czechs did not consider the ethnic question of being of major importance in 1989, Klaus said.

“We, Czechs, had the only aim of getting rid of Communism. We attributed all the feelings of arbitrariness to the Communist oppression. Slovaks also felt national oppression,” he added.

Meciar and Klaus agreed that the decisive moment for Czechoslovakia’s split came with the election in 1992, won in Slovakia by Meciar’s Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which demanded the division of the federation.

Meciar said this was inevitable because federal bodies had not worked.

Klaus said by voting for the HZDS, Slovak voters had spoken in favour of an independent Slovakia.

Czechs were interested in preserving the joint state, but in the given situation they did not want to look for any third way of arranging the relations or postpone the problem to the future, Klaus said.

“This is why along with Meciar, we rapidly arrived at the conclusion that the division is necessary. The election result determined this quite unambiguously,” Klaus said.

Klaus said the developments in the past 25 years had confirmed the rightfulness of Czechoslovakia’s division.

The negotiations enabled a smooth split, preventing the chaos that accompanied the dissolution of the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia. No conflict arose between the two states, he added.

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