* Ilkka Kanerva (cons), Finland's foreign minister, said Friday at the Suomi Areena 2007 forum in Pori that it looked like Estonia would also receive an invitation to next summer's Finno-Ugric world congress in Russia.
Mr Kanerva's comments were made shortly after talking on the phone toTarja Halonen, Finland's president.
President Halonen and Ferenc Gyurcsány, Hungary's prime minister, participated in a Finno-Ugric folk festival in Saransk, Russia, on Thursday while the third independent Finno-Ugric state Estonia was left without an invitation.
Mr Kanerva said that Russia now seemed to be taking the status of ethnic minorities seriously.
He advocated direct and honest dialogue. "I think that Russia has no better neighbour than Finland in any direction," the foreign minister said.