19:31 GMT +3 hours30 May 2016

Putin condemns human rights restrictions for ethnic reasons

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TURKU (Finland), August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin says any human rights restrictions in the Baltics for the Russian-speaking populations are unacceptable.

"We would like these problems to be solved on general principles and not exclusively," Putin said.

Russia expects the problems of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia and Estonia to be resolved positively.

"We should not aggravate anything; this is harmful. We will continue calm work on this issue with European partners, including Finland," Putin said at a press conference after talks with Finnish President Tarja Halonen.

"The modern law system in all developed countries has common approaches," he said. "There are basic notions: citizen, foreigner, a stateless person and a person with dual citizenship."

"Our partners in the Baltics invented a new notion - non-citizen. This does not exist in any other country.

"I think this is unacceptable, as it does not comply with modern demands, particularly, those of the European Union," he said.

Halonen said she saw no problem with the status of the Russian-speaking population in the Baltics.

"This issue will not be a priority during Finland's presidency in the EU in the second half of 2006," she said. "It does not mean that we are not interested in this issue, but I think that the problem will be resolved by that time."

Halonen said Finland helped the Baltic States to meet the EU demands and join the union.

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