PM: Estonian-Russian De Facto Border To Be Properly Demarcated ({{commentsTotal}})


After concerns were raised that the never-completely-finalized border between Estonia and Russia is not properly marked and guarded, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas has assured that additional funds will be found to improve oversight.

"If the question is whether the border must be properly demarcated, I say yes. Should we install more technical surveillance equipment on the border, my answer is also yes," said Rõivas at Thursday's Cabinet press conferemce.

"In any event, we will mark the border. We have aditional appropriations planned in the budget. No one has disputed the fact that we should appropriate additional funding. The work can in part be commenced this year. This is very reasonable and necessary," he was quoted by as saying.

Awareness of spotty areas were pointed up by the disappearance of the Estonian counterintelligence offiicial in a brushy area by the border on September 5, and opposing claims from Russia and Estonia regarding where he was detained. Estonia maintains he was illegally abducted from the Estonian side of the border, and border guards from both sides agreed that an illegal incursion from Russia had taken place.

Most of the border in the southeast is a de facto line. Although Estonia has given up territorial claims, the areas on the Russian-controlled side are still legally Estonia's under a 1920 bilateral treaty, pending ratification of a new treaty agreed this year. The border consists of border marking posts on the Russian side, and some standard light border features, such as strips or raked sand and cameras, but it is a world away from frontiers commonly seen between other countries with strained relations.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said this week he hoped Russia's Duma would begin the border treaty ratification process shortly.

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