Duma committee begins slow border treaty proceedings
A committee on foreign affairs in the Russian parliament began official proceedings in the Estonian-Russian border treaty bill, but MP Alexei Pushkov said the proceedings are expected to take a while and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves's allegedly offensive comments in an interview given for The Times newspaper regarding Russia will not help.
Pushkov, who heads the committee, said the process could draw out as a number of experts will be heard and other committees could also intervene before the bill is finally ready to be debated on the Duma floor.
“I see no obstacles in the ratification of the treaty. But the question of the time of the ratification is in some respects tied to the political situation,” he said.
Pushkov said provocative statements by Estonia, such as when Ilves said that "Greece, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus are useful idiots to Russian President Vladimir Putin", will not help to speed the process up. The Office of the President of Estonia said that the journalist who wrote the piece with the alleged quote, misquoted him.
Despite the comments from Ilves's office, Pushkov said such comments can not be left out of consideration. “This creates a certain climate. But people who sit in parliaments have emotions, and not only those in the Estonian Parliament,” he said.
The border treaty between the two nations was signed in February last year, but it will have to be ratified by both parliaments before it enters force. The ratification process is expected to take place simultaneously.