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Reporters mass for Bush-Putin summit

AROUND 500 journalists have already been accredited for the Bush-Putin summit, to be held in Bratislava on February 24, Slovakia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the TASR news agency.

The ministry estimates that the number of accredited journalists will total somewhere between 1,500 and 2,200. The summit's press-centre will be in Bratislava's Incheba congress hall.

An association of companies and business organizations in Slovakia is preparing a series of accompanying events for reporters. The aim is to use the summit to raise Slovakia’s global visibility.

Ivan Štefanec, chairman of the business initiative's committee said that participants include Volkswagen, US Steel, Matador, Heineken, Coca-Cola, the Slovak Business Alliance and others.

The committee is co-ordinating its activities with the Foreign Affairs Ministry. "Still, we don't have any set amount of money. When the activities are summarized, we'll look at the cost," Stefanec said.

The summit is to be held in Bratislava castle, although Washington and Moscow have yet to confirm this.

Slovakia's cabinet is due to decide how funds for the summit will be allocated on February 9.

The government has already set aside Sk205 million (€5.4 million) for the Interior Ministry to purchase special equipment, including armaments.

Part of the money is to be used for special wage bonuses for police officers.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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