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TALLINN, March 22. /TASS/. The Estonian Foreign Ministry’s official stance should not hinder efforts to restore contacts between the Russian and Estonian parliaments, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Chairman of the Riigikogu (the country’s parliament) Finance Committee, told TASS on Wednesday.
"Our country is a democracy. Everyone has the right to say whatever he wants, while the committee members’ position will be a determining factor (for restoring contacts)," he said.
Estonian Foreign Minister, Sven Mikser, earlier criticized Stalnuhhin’s plans to establish ties with Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) calling them unthinkable "at a time when anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the European Union are in effect."
Mihhail Stalnuhhin said in an interview with TASS on Tuesday that the Estonian parliament should take the first steps to revive contacts with Russian lawmakers. The Estonian MP noted that he put forward the idea "of establishing ties between the two parliaments’ relevant committees" to the Riigikogu members. He explained that his fellow lawmakers are due to respond to his proposal within the next two weeks.
According to the legislator, the idea to restore the political dialogue came to him after a meeting held in Tallinn about a month ago that brought together MPs and representatives of some transit enterprises.
The participants at the meeting raised the issue of Estonia needing "to establish relations with its eastern neighbor and restore those economic ties that the two countries used to have," he stressed.
Following the meeting, Aivar Kokk, head of the Riigikogu Economic Affairs Committee, decided to travel to Moscow in the near future to discuss transit matters there, Stalnuhhin added.