Bush arrives in Slovakia Wednesday evening

US PRESIDENT George Bush will arrive for a two-day visit to Slovakia on the evening of Wednesday February 23. This is the first visit to Slovakia by a US head of state since the origin of the Slovak Republic, according to the SITA news agency.

The visit will culminate on Thursday with a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Bratislava castle.

Before the summit Bush will hold talks with Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda. The Slovak officials want to raise the question of the cancellation of the visa requirement for Slovak citizens wishing to visit the US.

According to an unofficial agenda Bush is also going to meet Eastern and Central European personalities who have contributed to the development of democracy in the region.

Bush will deliver a public speech in Hviezdoslavovo square in Bratislava on Thursday February 24.

Slovak political representatives appreciate the fact that the US and Russia have chosen the Slovak capital as the place for the 12th summit between the leaders of the two countries.

Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan said that the holding of the summit in Slovakia is a gold medal for Russian foreign policy.

About 1,600 journalists, including 1,000 foreign ones, have been accredited for the summit.

The meeting will also be a big test for the Slovak security forces.

More than 5,000 policemen, 400 soldiers, 400 firemen and members of other parts of the Slovak armed forces will take part in security to ensure the smooth course of the event.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

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