Luik: sanctions, Kohver could impact border treaty ratification

New Narva-1 border checkpoint between Estonia and Russia (Ministry of Internal Affairs)
8/24/2015 12:15 PM
Category: Politics

The ratification process of the Estonian-Russian border treaty is expected to begin in both countries' parliaments in November. Estonian politicians believe the process can be concluded, despite the Eston Kohver case raising tensions.

“The Russia side is influenced most by the sanctions policy, in which Estonia also participates," Jüri Luik, former Estonian Ambassador to Russia, said. "On the Estonian side, it is clear that the Eston Kohver case has had a dramatic effect on our bilateral relations. It will be clear in the fall politics season how this will impact the border treaty ratification," he added.

Luik recently returned from Moscow where he served as Estonia's ambassador since the beginning of 2013. He now chairs the International Center for Defense and Security in Tallinn.

IRL MP and National Defense Committee head Marko Mihkelson said a border treaty is necessary to complete the building up of infrastructure on the eastern border. “One example is Eston Kohver, his kidnapping from Estonian territory, but also the growing problem with asylum seekers is clearly tied to the capability of guarding our eastern border,” he said.

SDE MP Hannes Hanso, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the government is yet to discuss the topic of ratification after Kohver was found guilty of espionage.

The treaty needs 68 votes in the Parliament to pass. That is several more than the current coalition has.

The treaty was signed by the two nations' foreign minister in February 2014, but needs to ratified by both parliaments before entering force.

Kohver was abducted at gunpoint from Estonian soil in September 2014 and was recently sentenced to 15 years in Russia for alleged espionage and other, smaller charges.

J.M. Laats

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