58th session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly to open in Prague

58th session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly to open in Prague

The 58th session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will open in Prague on Friday, November 9, Itar-Tass reported.

More than 700 delegates from all 28 NATO member states as well as representatives of partner countries, observers and experts will attend the event.

Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11, will be devoted to the meetings of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's five Committees: Political, Defence and Security, Science and Technology, Civil Dimension of Security and Economics and Security.

The Parliamentary Assembly's five committees will discuss international security and the alliance's development. Government officials, MPs from NATO countries, members of public organisations, scientists and experts will speak.

The session will take place at the invitation of the Czech parliament. The final meeting of the session will be held on November 12 when NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is to share his vision for the future of the organisation and its problems.

Other speakers include NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Karl Lamers and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Jean-Claude Mignon.

The 58th session will take place 10 years after the NATO summit in Prague where the decision was made to admit seven new members. "Karl Lamers has invited the presidents of the four candidate countries -- Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Georgia, and Macedonia - to attend the session," the lower house of the Czech parliament said in a statement.

The session will be held at the Prague Congress Centre, 20 halls of which can accommodate 9,300 people. Security has been tightened and traffic restrictions imposed in the area. Police are patrolling the adjacent streets.

Founded in 1955, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) serves as the consultative inter-parliamentary organisation for the North Atlantic Alliance.

The NATO PA consists of 257 delegates from the 28 NATO member countries.

A central part of the Assembly's work is the Rose-Roth Programme of partnership and co-operation - initially with Central and Eastern European countries but subsequently throughout the Euro-Atlantic region. This programme seeks to assist partner countries, mainly in the Balkans and the South Caucasus, through a challenging transition process, which involves the implementation of difficult political and economic reforms.

In the context of its outreach activities, the Assembly created in 1995 a Mediterranean Special Group with the aim of opening a political dialogue with legislators from countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The programme gradually expanded and the Assembly has now established relations at various levels with the Parliaments of nine countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, as well as with the Palestinian Legislative Council. Preliminary contacts have recently been established with some countries of the Gulf.

Two sessions are held each year -- in the spring and autumn -- in different countries.

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