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  Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Presidents of Russia and Estonia met on Saturday for the first
Presidents of Russia and Estonia met on Saturday for the first time since 2005 to discuss ways of improving strained relations between the two states.

"We meet seldom because we have a considerable amount of problems in our bilateral relations," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said. "I suggest we use this opportunity for discussions of our problems."

President Medvedev and his counterparts from Finland, Hungary and Estonia attended on Saturday the opening ceremony of the fifth world congress of Finno-Ugric peoples in West Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiisk.

President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves said he was glad to attend the congress adding that this meeting gives the two countries a chance to improve bilateral relations, but a lot of work must be done to achieve this.

The Estonian leader, who is expected to visit Moscow on June 30, was not invited to attend the congress last year.

Relations between Russia and Estonia, a European Union member since 2004, hit a low-point in April last year after Estonian authorities relocated the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet-era war monument, from central Tallinn and disinterred the remains of soldiers ahead of Victory Day, which is marked on May 9 in Russia. Over 1,000 people were arrested in protests against the move, and one Russian was killed.

The latest dispute between the two countries has been over the trial of an 88-year-old Soviet war hero, Arnold Meri, accused of genocide in Estonia. Russia's State Duma adopted last month a declaration calling on the European Union to halt the trial, saying it the charges are fabricated and politically motivated.


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