Ruutel defends statements made in Moscow

  • 2005-01-19
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's President Arnold Ruutel has said that Vladimir Putin has no reason to renege on the promises he gave during the two presidents' recent meeting in Moscow.

Ruutel has come under increasing criticism after the Kremlin essentially refuted the Estonian president's statement that Putin had expressed a willingness to annul the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that led to the occupation of the Baltics.

"Considering the atmosphere of the meeting, I can see no reason why he should do it," Ruutel told the Postimees daily on Tuesday.

He said that there was no need to comment on the statement that Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, made after the unofficial meeting downplaying the Russian president's intentions. Ruutel said that a border treaty along with a political declaration on relations should be signed in Moscow in May.

The Estonian president, who has yet to make a decision on whether to go to Moscow to participate in Victory Day ceremonies, said that Estonia would be represented at the May 10 summit but prior to that the country was prepared to host Russia's foreign minister in Tallinn.

"While making my proposal, I told Putin that if an exchange of ratification letters would take place at the Moscow summit it would be a version suitable also to Russia. He had no objections," Ruutel said.

Ruutel told his Russian colleague that there was no mention of either historical or legal assessment of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and Putin expressed his disapproval of the pact. According to the Kremlin's press service, however, there was essentially no way to nullify the 1939 agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

"Terms of different legal meanings are no doubt important, but primarily general principles are spoken about at presidents' meetings," Ruutel said.

Regarding the interviews he gave in Moscow, he explained that he had had to give flash interviews alternatively in Estonian and Russian after the two-hour meeting with Putin. "If I have used a somewhat different wording in some of them, please take this with understanding. The general meaning [of what I said] has remained the same. After all, [the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact] and any acts proceeding from it have to be denounced," he said.