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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
Slovak PM's Prague odyssey
The old city of Prague
Mikulas Dzurinda was not the only runner to get lost on the Prague streets
By Ray Furlong in Prague

Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda found that the path of international diplomacy does not always run smoothly when he got lost during a fun run in Prague at the start of an official visit to the Czech Republic.

Mr Dzurinda, who is a keen jogger, actually ended up completing the course of the run twice - covering 18 km instead of nine.

Although he arrived at the finishing line a bit later than he might have expected, he was welcomed there by his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman.

Getting lost

Mr Dzurinda freely admitted to waiting journalists that he had got lost while running through Prague's historical centre.

His spokeswoman pointed out that the course of the fun run crossed that of the full Prague marathon being held on the same day - and Mr Dzurinda was not the only runner to get lost.

Many local runners complained of poor direction markers and said they had gone the wrong way too.

Winning gold

Mr Dzurinda is in Prague for talks officially winding up the process of dividing assets belonging to the Czechoslovak Federal Republic.

He quipped that he hoped his talks with Czech ministers this week go just as smoothly as his run.

And although he did not win the race, he is assured of taking the gold - as part of the property deal, Slovakia receives four and a half tonnes of it from the Czech national bank and Mr Dzurinda will be presented with a symbolic nugget.

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