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05.07.2000 - INTERFAX SEVERO-ZAPAD Informs:

President of Finland Tarja Halonen: "Russia is Still the Most Important Partner of Finland"

President of Finland Tarja Halonen Savonlinna/Petrozavodsk, July 4. / INTERFAX SEVERO-ZAPAD /. - "Russia is still the most important partner of Finland". It was stated by the President of Finland Tarja Halonen at the meeting with the Head of the Republic of Karelia Sergey Katanandov in Savonlinna (Finland).

The press-secretary of the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia Andrei Rajev informed "Interfax" that T. Halonen marked that she would try her best to strengthen and develop Russian-Finnish relations.

According to A. Rayev`s information, the President of Finland is sure that President Putin is also concerned with the success of the Republic of Karelia.

T. Halonen and S. Katanandov came to Savonlinna on the invitation of the local power body to visit the XXIX International Opera festival.

The meeting lasted more than an hour. Tarja Halonen and Sergey Katanandov discussed a lot of issues on cross-border cooperation and Karelian-Finnish relations in general.

In particular the development of check-in points, roads on the borderline between the Republic of Karelia and Finland was considered.

"Finland is concerned with social protection and well-being of the population in the Republic of Karelia. - Mrs. Halonen said in the course of the meeting. - Our country will assist you in every possible way".

They also discussed the coming first-night of the ballet "Sampo" remake by Helmer Sinisalo staged at the opera theater in Savonlinna and performed by the Karelian ballet dancers. The president of Finland might visit the first night of the ballet.

The ballet was staged for the first time in the Musical theater of the Republic of Karelia in 1959.

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