Czechoslovakia's two leading politicians have decided to split their country.

Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, who have been negotiating the makeup of a new government since elections two weeks ago, agreed early Saturday that it is no longer possible to preserve the 74-year-old federation of Czechs and Slovaks.

They asked the two regional parliaments representing the Czech Republic and Slovakia to work out a final arrangement by Sept. 30.

The country will be run by a temporary federal government slimmed down from 16 cabinet members to 10, and from 13 ministries to five: defense, finance, foreign, interior, and economy.

Mr. Klaus, the aggressive economic reformer and Czech political leader, and Mr. Meciar, the ex-Communist and nationalist leader of Slovakia, will meet this week to negotiate cabinet assignments.

Both negotiators said that a new arrangement between Czechs and Slovaks will be developed peacefully.

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