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First Ladies to attend Bratislava summit

FIRST Ladies Laura Bush and Ludmila Putin will accompany their husbands to the Bratislava Bush-Putin summit, according to Miroslav Lajčák, head of the permanent secretariat in charge of the summit’s organization.

The summit will take place at Bratislava Castle on February 24. Discussions will last about four hours and will be followed by a working lunch and a press conference. Bush arrives in Bratislava February 23 and will meet with Slovak representatives before the summit. Putin arrives February 24 and will be in Slovakia for two days.

Security measures for the summit are not expected to disrupt the capital's daily life. "We are arranging the summit so it will not inconvenience our citizens," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Juraj Tomaga told the TASR news agency.

Up to 1,500 reporters from all over the world are expected. Tomaga hopes to familiarize foreign correspondents with aspects of other Slovak regions besides Bratislava.

The press centre for foreign journalists will be open non-stop from February 22-25 at the Incheba exhibition centre. The Summit’s official website is www.slovakiasummit.sk.

This week teams from Moscow and Washington will converge on Bratislava to hash out the details of the presidents' programmes. Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan will conduct separate talks at the summit with his US and Russian counterparts.

The summit’s logo will be a silhouette of Bratislava Castle with Bush and Putin´s names and the title 'Slovakia Summit 2005', the TASR news agency reports.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
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