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Former Estonian President Lennart Meri pictured in 2000 (epa) March 14, 2006 -- Former Estonian President Lennart Meri has died in Tallinn following a lengthy illness. He was 76.


Meri was president of the Baltic republic from 1992 to 2001 and played a key role in the consolidation of the country after it gained independence from the Soviet Union.


Current Estonian President Arnold Ruutel declared March 15 a national day of mourning.


(AP, dpa)

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