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Putin gets official welcome

PRESIDENT Ivan Gašparovič officially welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava on the evening of February 24, the news agency TASR reported.

It is the Russian leader's first visit to Slovakia.

President Putin began his two-day official visit to Slovakia after the summit meeting with US President Bush.

President Putin and his wife Ludmila signed the Book of Guests at the palace. After a private talk between the presidents and their wives, a ceremonial dinner will follow.

Official talks between Gašparovič and Putin will start on February 25 in the morning.

The Slovak president wants to talk mainly about bilateral relations and mutual cooperation.

The Russian president will meet Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

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