Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev today started an official part of his two-day visit to Finland. He met with the Finnish President, Tarja Halonen and discussed problems of the Kyrgyz-Finnish bilateral cooperation, the situation in Central Asia and other international issues. President Halonen praised previous historic ties between Kyrgyzstan and Finland:
"As you could see for yourself today when you visited the museum that bears his name, Carl Gustav Mannerheim, who later became Marshal of Finland and President of the Republic, made his much-acclaimed expedition on horseback from Osh through Kyrgyzstan to Sinkiang and all the way to Peking in 1906. Since his days, Presidents Urho Kekkonen and Mauno Koivisto have also visited Kyrgyzstan to make the acquaintance of your country and its people and nature, of which we have read many colorful tales in the novels of Chinghiz Aitmatov."
President Akayev is to also meet with the former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari and the Speaker of the Finnish parliament (Eduskunta) Anneli Jaatteenmiaki, deliver a lecture at the Paasikivi foreign policy society. His programme also includes visits to Finnish companies. Kyrgyz President ends his visit to Finland tomorrow.