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Russia to ratify border agreement with Estonia only if confrontation ruled out — Lavrov

January 17, 2017, 14:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The top diplomat referred to the agreement that he and his Estonian counterpart signed noting that "their ratification requires a sound atmosphere"

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MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Russia is ready to return to the ratification of an agreement on the state border with Estonia but only in the context of constructive development of bilateral relations, and without stirring up confrontation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual press conference on Tuesday.

The top diplomat referred to the agreement that he and his Estonian counterpart signed noting that "their ratification requires a sound atmosphere."

"In a sound atmosphere, we mean the absence of invectives against one another for no reason at all, not getting carried away by relentless accusations that Russia is threatening Estonia’s security and that of other countries of the region, or Eastern Europe in general," Lavrov said.

"Unfortunately, when the Committee on International Affairs of our State Duma (lower house of parliament) was considering the agreement, Tallinn’s rhetoric was absolutely inappropriate for the continuation of this process without stirring up our public’s indignation," Lavrov stressed. Russia’s Foreign Minister said that in 2005 he and then-Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet signed agreements on the land and the lake surface borders.

"There was a clear understanding that these agreements would be ratified without any provocative makeweights which means any statements containing territorial claims. That was 100% guaranteed, but when agreements were submitted for ratification to the Estonian parliament, just one day before the end of the spring session, the lawmakers adopted legislation on ratification in which they referred to the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1924, containing territorial claims to Russia."

Moscow did not receive any clear explanations from Tallinn and as a result the signatures under those documents were withdrawn. Several years later, the two countries’ foreign ministers rewrote the accords and the ratification procedures were initiated but everything was disrupted again due to the above-mentioned reasons.

"We signed them in Moscow and agreed that we would exchange ratification instruments in Tallinn," Lavrov said emphasizing that Tallinn is the only capital of any former Soviet republic that he has not visited as Russia’s foreign minister yet. Speaking about the deployment of NATO forces on the border of Estonia and Russia, Lavrov said that "no one needs this." "If NATO’s military forces do not see any other mission for themselves other than on the border of Estonia and Russia that means that their intelligence is bad and they don’t understand what is going on first of all in other zones of NATO’s responsibility," Lavrov explained.

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