Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he may have liked to run in 2008 for a third consecutive term - but he is constitutionally barred from doing so.

Mr. Putin made the comment Tuesday after talks with Finnish President Tarja Halonen in the Finnish town of Naantali, about 200 kilometers west of Helsinki.

The Russian leader also criticized Baltic countries for alleged discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities.

Ms. Halonen expressed confidence the issue of minority rights is being addressed in the Baltics, and that the topic will not be a priority when Finland assumes the rotating European Union presidency next year.

Russia has had tense relations with the Baltics. Moscow has long-accused them of discriminating against their Russian-speaking minorities, while the Baltics have been demanding that Russia apologize for the five-decade Soviet occupation of the region.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.