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Estonia hopes to ratify border treaty with Russia soon — FM

November 21, 2014, 20:42 UTC+3 TALLINN

Russian Foreign Ministry says Estonia’s unilateral border demarcation will have no legal binding on Russia

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© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shamukov

TALLINN, November 21. /TASS/. Estonia’s new foreign minister said on Friday the country is interested in ratifying a long-awaited border treaty with Russia.

Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, who became foreign minister of the Baltic state - an EU member that was formerly part of the Soviet Union - on November 17, said she hoped the parliaments of the two countries would ratify the treaty as soon as possible, adding that Tallinn was expecting a response from Moscow.

The line of the state border between the two countries was agreed in 2005 after nearly eleven years of talks. A border treaty was signed shortly afterwards, but when it was submitted for ratification, the Estonian legislators included in the preamble a mention of the Tartu treaty of 1920 in a context that left a potential loophole for territorial claims against Moscow. Russia revoked its signature and the process remained legally incomplete. Talks on the problem resumed in late 2012.

On November 18, the Estonian parliament launched work to demarcate its 136-kilometre borderland in the country’s east. Estonia plans to demarcate the border unilaterally, since the border treaty with Russia has not entered into force yet.

Russian Foreign Ministry says Estonia’s unilateral border demarcation will have no legal binding on Russia

ussian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday Estonia’s unilateral demarcation of the border will have legal binding on Russia.

“I am referring to amendments to the law on Estonia’s state border that were passed by the parliament in the third reading. These amendments vest the Estonian government with the authority to establish the temporary control line between Russia and Estonia on the basis of Estonia’s land register,” he said.

“We proceed from the fact that in line with international law any unilateral border demarcation has no legal binding on the adjacent state,” the Russian diplomat stressed.

He noted that a similar provision was part of the Russian-Estonian border agreement signed in Moscow on February 18, 2014 that fixed the lack of territorial claims to each other. “Thus, articles 5-7 of this document provide for a joint demarcation of the border that is to be done only after the agreement comes into force,” Lukashevich said. “The state border will be considered as ultimately demarked after each party’s governments endorse relevant demarcation documents.”

As of today, the Russia side has not yet submitted the border agreement with Estonia for ratification due to Tallinn’s unfriendly policy in bilateral relations, the spokesman added.

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