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Clinton Urges 'Quick, Fair' Jewish Property Return

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Latvia's Foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics (R) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton give a joint press conference after their meeting in Riga on June 28, 2012.
Latvia's Foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics (R) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton give a joint press conference after their meeting in Riga on June 28, 2012.

RIGA, Latvia -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has urged Latvia to resolve the restitution of pre-World War II Jewish property "quickly and fairly."

Clinton said Thursday that property restitution is a "piece of unfinished historical business," though she acknowledged that Latvia's center-right government is attempting to address the issue.

Nearly 80,000 Jews, or 90 percent of Latvia's pre-war Jewish population, were killed while the country was under occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941-42.

After Latvia regained independence in 1991, individuals, including Jews, were allowed to reclaim properties seized by the Soviet Union in 1940. Some Jewish organizations, however, were left out of the process.

Jewish organizations currently active in Latvia claim to have several hundred properties listed for possible restitution.

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