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Finland supports visa-free travel between Russia, EU

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev (R) talks with his Finland’s counterpart Tarja Halonen at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow November 8, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

November 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI/ RIA NOVOSTI) — Finland supports the bilateral cancellation of visa requirements between Russia and the European Union, the country’s president Tarja Halonen said on Tuesday.

Moscow has made visa-free travel between Russia and the EU a foreign policy priority.

“Finland is among the EU states that support a visa-free regime,” she said. “The European Union and Russia should agree on practical measures required to make progress on the issue, quickly and with regard to all issues, including security.”

Russia submitted a draft agreement on scrapping the visa regime to the EU at the Russia-EU summit in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on May 31.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rebuked the EU in late September for dragging its heels on the issue, saying that Russia wanted a “clear answer.”

MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti)

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Photostream : Finland’s President Tarja Halonen meets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Finland's President Tarja Halonen inspects the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at Moscow's Vnukovo airport November 8, 2010. Tarja Halonen visits Russia for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin )

Finland's President Tarja Halonen puts her gloves on upon her arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport November 8, 2010. Halonen visits Russia for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Alexander Natruskin )

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) talks with his Finland's counterpart Tarja Halonen at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow November 8, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R), his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen (C) and her spouse Pentti Arajarvi meet at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow November 8, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS / Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (2nd R) and his wife Svetlana (R) welcome Finland's President Tarja Halonen (2nd L) and her spouse Pentti Arajarvi at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow November 8, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin )

Dmitry Medvedev, Tarja Halonen have informal meeting

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (2nd R) and his wife Svetlana (R) welcome Finland's President Tarja Halonen (2nd L) and her spouse Pentti Arajarvi at the Gorki presidential residence outside Moscow November 8, 2010.

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MOSCOW, November 8 (KATAKAMI / Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Finnish President Tarja Halonen had an informal meeting in Moscow on Monday, November 8.

Halonen has arrived in Russia on a state visit.

“The schedule of Tarja Halonen’s state visit began with an informal meeting with Dmitry Medvedev,” the presidential press service said. “The leaders exchanged greetings and conversed briefly, after which the head of the Russian state invited his Finnish colleague to an informal supper.”

“The wife of the Russian president, Svetlana Medvedev, and the husband of the Finnish head of state, Pentti Arajarvi, participated in the conversation along with the presidents,” the press service said.

On Tuesday, the presidents will continue negotiations in an official setting. They will meet in a narrow circle first and will be joined by members of their delegations later on.

Medvedev and Halonen will speak about the results of the talks at a joint press conference.

Finnish president Tarja Halonen to visit Russia on November 8-11

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) visits the island of Seili on Archipelago Sea with Finnish President Tarja Halonen (R) during the second day of Medvedev's visit to Finland on July 21, 2010. (HEIKKI SAUKKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW, October 25 (KATAKAMI / RIA Novosti) – Finnish President Tarja Halonen will pay an official visit to Russia on November 8-11 at the invitation of her Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin said.

Talks between Medvedev and Halonen are scheduled for November 9.

Medvedev visited Finland in July and he invited Halonen to Russia “to discuss not only global issues, but also practical matters.”