Budapest Sun
MP calls Romanian sludge spill act of 'war'

By Duncan Welch

March 30, 2000

István Csurka, president of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party, said the Tisza river disaster was a Romanian act of genocide and a new form of warfare.

His statements before a parliamentary session have created a flood of controversy not only because of what he had to say but because the Government, unlike the opposition parties, took no steps to dispute or distance themselves from the extreme and volatile comment, such as when Csurka said the pollution was "an offensive war without the crack of rifles".

Csurka called for economic, ecological and military protection against additional pollution. Zsolt Németh, Foreign Ministry State Secretary, said he did not want to reply to all of Csurka's comments, but believed economic or military intervention was not the answer.

Free Democrat parliamentary group leader Gábor Küncze distanced himself from Csurka's remarks "on behalf of all democratic parliamentary forces", noting that the Cabinet had failed to do so.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, responding to criticism for not commenting on the remarks, told Hungarian Radio that the Cabinet was not required to respond to the remarks of opposing parties.

Foreign Minister János Martonyi was willing to comment however, saying he thought Csurka's remarks were "irresponsible and unfounded" and consequently undeserving of "further analysis".

Original article