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Rogozin Says NATO-Russia Council Session Planned To Diminish Impact Of Putin's Statements

BRUSSELS. March 31 (Interfax) - The organizers of the upcoming summit of the NATO-Russia Council in Bucharest do not want the Russian president's speech to be covered openly by the media, and Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin has vehemently opposed the procedural restrictions introduced by NATO as regards the Russian president's statements.

"Everything is being done to limit the participation of the Russian president in the open part of the summit as much as possible, and I see a political intention behind these actions," Rogozin told Interfax on Monday commenting on the Bucharest summit's schedule published on NATO's official website.

Under the schedule, the media will be allowed to cover only the welcoming speech of NATO Secretary General Yaap de Hoop Scheffer at the opening of the session of the NATO-Russia Council on April 4, while the remainder of the session will be off limit. Therefore, journalists will not be able to hear the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has agreed to attend the Bucharest summit at NATO's invitation.

The session of the NATO-Ukraine commission will be more open to the media: journalists will cover the speech of the secretary general and that of Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko.

"For the first time I face such a playing with procedural issues, and I see that there is a political intention behind them: an attempt to make sure the Russian president's statements on key issues of European and world security do not reach Western European and U.S. audiences," Rogozin said.