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Russia Denies Visa For Estonian Foreign Minister

10 November 2005 -- Russia's Foreign Ministry has denied an entry visa to the foreign minister of Estonia, Urmas Paet.

Paet was due to travel to St. Petersburg for a conference today and tomorrow on improving cooperation between Russia and the European Union.

Paet submitted his diplomatic passport to Russian Embassy officials in Tallinn after receiving an invitation to the conference, which was organized by the St. Petersburg Center for International Cooperation.

Embassy officials rejected Paet's application, saying only the Russian Foreign Ministry or the Russian government were authorized to issue such invitations to foreign diplomats.

A second Estonian official, Regional Affairs Minister Jaan Ounapuu, successfully received a visa to attend the St. Petersburg meeting.