All news

Estonia has no territorial claims to Russia — president

Prime Minister Juri Ratas and Defense Minister Juri Luik have also spoken in favor of its ratification
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid EPA-EFE/Toms Kalnins
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid
© EPA-EFE/Toms Kalnins

TALLINN, February 25. /TASS/. Estonia has no territorial claims to its neighbors, including Russia, President Kersti Kaljulaid said on Monday during celebrations to mark the country’s Independence Day.

"The strategic arraying of the Estonian state’s security after the withdrawal of Soviet troops began when Prime Minister Andres Tarand valiantly announced: Estonia, just like many other European countries in the post-war period, should move forward within the borders that differ from those that existed before World War II," the local BNS news agency quoted the president as saying. "Without this approach, the door to NATO would have remained closed to us. Yes, the border treaty remains to be ratified and we need to work hard to eventually make this step."

"Back then [before Estonia's accession to NATO], we assured our potential NATO allies that we are working hard to achieve agreements on border issues, and they believed us," she said. "We’ve promised our allies: Estonia has no territorial claims to its neighbors."

Kaljulaid went on to say that Estonia’s former Foreign Minister Urmas Paet signed the border treaty with Russia twice and the country’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas and Defense Minister Juri Luik both speak in favor of its ratification.

Estonia’s supreme officials have contrasting opinions regarding territorial claims and ratification of the border treaty with Russia. President of the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) Henn Polluaas earlier announced that the ruling parliamentary coalition decided not to ratify the border treaty with Moscow at present. Polluaas and First Vice-President of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder said their country should also demand the return of some territories from Russia.

Russian-Estonian border treaty

The Russian-Estonian border was agreed in 2005 after almost 11 years of negotiations. The border treaty was also signed then and it was submitted for ratification but Estonian MPs included a mention of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty in its preamble which could spell potential territorial demands to Russia in the future. Amid these developments, Moscow recalled its signature and the process was left legally unfinished.

The talks resumed in late 2012. The treaty was signed in February 2014 by foreign ministers of Russia and Estonia but to enter into force it has to be ratified by both national parliaments.

The Treaty of Tartu was signed by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (part of the Soviet Union) and Estonia on February 2, 1920. Its conditions stipulated that Ivangorod and a part of the Pechory District belonged to Estonia. After Estonia joined the Soviet Union in 1940, these territories were retroceded to Russia.