Estonian Parliament ratifies border treaty with Russia

  • 2005-06-21
TALLINN - At its extraordinary session on Monday, Parliament ratified the treaties on the land border and sea border with Russia that were signed in Moscow on May 18.

The ratification bill was passed with votes 78 to four with no abstentions.

The borderline set out by the land border treaty is virtually the same as the border between the Estonian SSR and Russia during the decades of Soviet rule, which since 1991 serves as the de facto border between the countries.

Now that the border has become official, Estonia has lost about 5 percent of its prewar territory as set out in the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920. Thus, on a proposal from five parliamentary factions, lawmakers added a preamble to the treaties saying that in ratifying the treaties Parliament keeps in mind that the treaty on the state border partly changes in agreement with Article 122 of the Estonian Constitution the boundary line as fixed in the Tartu Peace Treaty concluded between Estonia and Russia in 1920 but does not affect the rest of the peace treaty or predetermine future handling of other bilateral issues not related to the border treaties.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that in creating the preamble Parliament wanted to place the two agreements that were technical by their nature into the general context of Estonia's statehood and foreign policy.

"At the same time, the Riigikogu has created no additional conditions or anything else here that could be treated as reservations or influencing of the content of the treaties," the minister said.