BUDAPEST (REUTER) - Hungary appealed to Slovakia to pass a long-awaited minority language law, saying Bratislava was contravening its international commitments to its ethnic Hungarian minority by delaying the legislation. The law is a requirement of the basic treaty ratified by Hungary and Slovakia last year which guarantees current borders, human rights, and the protection of minorities. The Slovak government, led by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, provoked international condemnation by introducing a controversial language law late in 1995 making Slovak the only language to be used in public places. However, it also promised to pass a law protecting minority languages but has so far failed to put the bill before parliament, provoking strong criticism from Slovak President Michal Kovac as well as the Council of Europe and the United States. Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs said he had suggested to his Slovak counterpart that all that was necessary was to bring together existing legislation. Kovacs also confirmed that the two countries were exploring ways of reaching an out-of-court settlement of the current Gabcikovo dam dispute, under which Slovakia has diverted waters from the Danube to a hydroelectric project. The construction had originally been a joint venture between the communist governments of Hungary and Czechoslovakia but Hungary unilaterally pulled out in 1989 citing environmental concerns, while newly-created Slovakia decided to go it alone. Slovakia is claiming damages from Hungary for breach of contract while Hungary complains the dam is causing environmental damage.