RIGA - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Latvia on Thursday to return property to Jewish groups which was seized by the Soviet Union and whose owners were killed by the Nazis, a rare point of tension between Washington and its Baltic ally.

The issue of returning property such as schools, some synagogues and other communal buildings is controversial in Latvia, one of the EU's poorest states and which is just recovering from a deep crisis. A nationalist minister quit the ruling coalition last week over the issue.

"The United States strongly supports restitution or compensation for those whose property was confiscated by either the Nazis or the Communists," Clinton told a news conference during a brief visit to the Baltic state.

Clinton, whose tour of Finland, Latvia and St. Petersburg has been overshadowed by US-Russia tensions over Syria, said she had raised the issue in all her meetings, with the president, prime minister and foreign minister.

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