Foreign Minister: Estonia cannot back down on Tartu peace treaty principles

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Jarno Kuusinen/Prime Minister's Office, Finland

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says that Estonia should not withdraw from the principles of the Tartu Peace Treaty, in order to ratify the border treaty with the Russian Federation.

Speaking on Vikerraadio broadcast Uudis+, Reinsalu was responding to remarkes made by Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Sergei Belyaev, who said that Russia expects Estonia to relinquish and territorial or political demands.

"The political-informative background related with Russia has become more negative. But key government ministers - Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu and Interior Minister Mart Helme - have even made public claims to our country, with reference to the inoperative 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty," Belyaev said

However, Reinsalu said there is no room for doubt about the functioning of the Tartu Peace Treaty. 

"The view of the Republic of Estonia is that Article 2 of the Tartu Peace Treaty is a valid principle. It involves the notion of our unlawful annexation and the restoration of our sovereignty, not the creation of a new state. In terms of state building this is the most conceptual understanding of our country, our country's past, and in that respect, these bilateral relations [with Russia] as well," Reinsalu said on the program, concluding that considering the linking of the border agreement with the political conditions of the Russian Federation, he does not see ratification of the border agreement by the Estonian parliament happening in the near future.

Under the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, territory on the east bank of the Narva River, and in the Petseri district in Setomaa, became Estonian territory, and remained so several years after the Soviet occupation of 1940.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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