Dzurinda to meet Bush today

SLOVAK Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda is to meet George W Bush today during an official visit to the US. This is Dzurinda's third visit to the White House.

Dzurinda was not deterred from flying to the US despite having broken his leg while skiing a week ago. He set off for the journey in a cast with crutches and a wheelchair.

The visit comes just three months before elections in Slovakia, and is proof of the close relationship between Bush and Dzurinda. It is also perceived as a reward for the Dzurinda administration's support of US foreign policy, the SME daily wrote.

Dzurinda said he intended to bring up the subject of visas that the US requires of Slovaks travelling to America. "I don't hide the aim of my trip - to take at least a small step towards abolishing the visa," said the PM before leaving for the US.

Bush cannot abolish the visa obligation on his own, but can only campaign in congress for it to be altered. Today's meeting between Dzurinda and the head of the Senate foreign committee, Richard Lugar, will thus be important as well.

So far, Congress has given no sign that it is prepared to scrap the visa obligation in the near future.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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