Reports differ over Meri's health

  • 2005-11-02
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Conflicting reports have emerged about the health of former President Lennart Meri, who underwent brain surgery in August.
His personal press officers have said that Meri was physically active and healthy, while sources close to the former head of state claim otherwise, the daily SL Ohtuleht reported this week.

The paper reported that, according to several sources, Meri's health is quite dire, and he suffers from speech disorder. The newspaper also learned that Meri gave up a planned trip to Greece on doctors' recommendation.

For a long period of time, medics were unable to detect that Meri had low blood sugar, the report claimed. After the removal of a brain cyst on Aug. 9, Meri appeared in public for Archbishop Emeritus Jaan Kiivit's funeral on Sept. 8 and then for the inauguration of Catholic Bishop Msgr. Philippe two days later.

On Oct. 28, Meri received a visit from Paul Goble, vice-dean of the Tartu University School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Goble told SL Ohtuleht that Meri was an elderly man, and understandably his recovery from such a difficult operation was not easy.

The vice-dean added that he and Meri had spent a couple of hours speaking about events in Estonia in the 1990s.

But Goble was reluctant to speak about the former president's health. "I haven't spoken to doctors. I can't tell what the prognosis is," he was quoted as saying.

Meri's office issued a statement on Oct. 28 reporting that the former president had suffered no complications after his surgery. "Meri has seen doctors for scheduled examinations twice during the post-operation period. On the basis of the examinations, no deterioration in the condition of health, nor any need for hospital treatment has been established," officials reported.

Meri was president from 1992-2001, serving the maximum two terms allowed under the constitution.