Estonian-Russian Border Treaty to Be Signed in Moscow on February 18 (6)
The foreign ministries of Estonia and Russia announced today that they have come to an agreement that the border treaty will be signed in Moscow, with Foreign Minister Urmas Paet traveling to the Russian capital.
Two agreements will be signed there on February 18: one on the national border between Estonia and Russia, and an agreement defining territorial waters in the Bay of Narva and Gulf of Finland.
After signing, the agreements still have to be ratified by the Estonian Parliament and Russian legislature.
Both of the agreements remain somewhat controversial, as the land border treaty would cede to Russia in perpetuity areas that are currently under Russian control but were Estonia's between the world wars.
The countries have been even closer to a new border treaty than they are now: In May 2005, a treaty was signed by the foreign ministers, but the Estonian Parliament's addition of a preamble referring to the historical Tartu Peace Treaty caused Russia to table ratification later that year.
The marine agreement also cedes some of the surface of a Narva reservoir to Russia, but Estonia gains back a narrow corridor of land in the southeast where an Estonian road runs through Russian-controlled territory, in what has become an unconventional tourist attraction.
Two more minor agreements on embassy locations will also be signed on February 18.
Urmas Paet had originally proposed to counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Lavrov come to Estonia for the treaty signing. This has now been settled by Lavrov's agreeing to visit Estonia in the latter half of 2014, the Foreign Ministry said.