TALLINN - The Russian Foreign Ministry denied a visa to
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who was planning to attend a St. Petersburg roundtable discussion. The meeting was reportedly not considered high-level enough to issue a visa to Paet.
The meeting, which focuses on tensions surrounding Russian and European Union border relations, began today without the Foreign Minister.
Upon hearing the news, a second Estonian official turned down his invitation to St. Petersburg in solidarity with Paet.
The meeting was scheduled to be held at the St. Petersburg Centre of International
Cooperation. Reportedly, only the Russian Foreign Ministry may invite
foreign officials to Russia.
Former Foreign Minister Toomas Ilves called the decision
"uncivilized" and Paet termed it "regrettable."
Neither Estonia nor neighboring Latvia have an official border with
Russia. Estonia is one of eight former Communist countries in East
and Central Europe to join the European Union in May of last year