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July 21st, 1998

The outgoing minister responsible for national minorities, Vladimir Mlynar, has called on the new government to work up a long-term policy strategy to help the Romany minority.

He said that without such a strategy - which would also influence decision-making in other ministries - any attempts to improve the position of Romanies would be sporadic and unlikely to succeed.

He added that he hoped the Social Democrats would put into practice the idea circulating within the party of increasing the power and influence of the government commission for national minorities.

Mr Mlynar's successor, Jaroslav Basta, told Czech Television last night that he broadly shared Mr Mlynar's views.

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