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Border treaty passes first reading in Estonian Parliament

Estonia's Parliament completed the first reading of the Estonian-Russian border treaty ratification bill.

Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand said the text of the treaty has not charged compared to February 2014, when it was signed by the foreign ministers of the two nations. She added that an accompanying text, the explanatory memorandum, has been updated to comply with the opinion of the Chancellor of Justice.

Kaljurand said that concluding of the border treaties with Russia will have a positive impact on the security of Estonia, as it helps increase stability and predictability in the relations between the countries, and preclude possible misunderstandings and confusion on such an important issue as the territories of the states.

“A border that has been clearly laid down and marked is a factor that additionally ensures security,” Kaljurand said, and added that the border treaty enables to remove the illogicality of border lines and guard the border more effectively.

EKRE MP Henn Põlluaas said that Estonia did not need the border treaty and it was harmful to Estonia. In his opinion, the issue is in sovereignty and whether Estonia wants to protect its territorial integrity.

Põlluaas asked Parliament to reject the bill, but only 13 MPs voted for his motion, and 63 rejected it.

Free Party's Andres Herkel said that the treaties had great essential inadequacies and did not mention the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920. He also drew attention to the fact that Estonia was again one-sidedly ratifying the treaties and did not know how the other party would behave.

Russia is yet to begin debating ratification in its parliament.

The bill includes two treaties in the border treaty and a separate agreement on the delimitation of maritime areas near Narva and the Gulf of Finland, will establish the state border between Estonia and Russia.

The ratification of international treaties which modify the borders of Estonia requires a two thirds majority in Parliament.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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