EKRE to block ratification of Estonian-Russian border treaty

Part of the Russian-Estonian border in Southeastern Estonia.
Part of the Russian-Estonian border in Southeastern Estonia. Source: Mirjam Mõttus/ERR

The opposition Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) announced on Thursday that when the new government coalition puts the border treaty between Estonia and Russia before the parliament for ratification, EKRE will prevent its ratification by all legitimate means.

Mart Helme, deputy chairman of EKRE and member of the Riigikogu foreign affairs committee, said that EKRE intends to mobilize all forces in order for the Riigikogu not to endorse a treaty by which Estonia voluntarily cedes to Russia territories belonging to it under the Tartu Peace Treaty. 

"There are no substantive reasons for separating 5.2 percent of the territory, territorial waters and airspace from the Estonian state and relinquishing it to a foreign country. Approving the treaty in the hope that it will improve Estonian-Russian relations is wishful thinking and shows how poorly those who are shaping our foreign policy know Russia," Helme said.

Helme described the timing of the initiative of the government as baffling.

"In a situation where relations between the European Union and Russia are at a low and new sanctions on Russia are being discussed, our ministers are planning a gift to the eastern neighbor. Estonia will not gain any political, economic or moral benefit from this," Helme said.

"On the contrary, in ratifying the agreement the Republic of Estonia will agree with the stance of the Kremlin that the Tartu Peace Treaty has become invalid. Agreeing with it in its turn will legalize forever the continued occupation by Russia of lands that are Estonian lands pursuant to the Treaty of Tartu and relinquish the territories to the east of Narva and a part of the Petseri land. Ratification of the treaty will deprive us of any right whatsoever to demand even the smallest compensation for the occupied lands. Those who think that the Estonian state should be pragmatic and back down on the Treaty of Tartu are forgetting that Putin's Russia is not eternal. Estonia does not have to rush," he said.

Helme said that, in addition, ratification of the border treaty would be a justification of the actions of Russia in Georgia and Ukraine.

"If we support the territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine and condemn the aggression by Russia in these countries, we must be guided by the same principle also in Estonia. The conquering of Estonian lands and the occupation of Crimea only differ by the time when they happened," the EKRE deputy chairman added.

While outlining Estonia's foreign policy for the next year in the Riigikogu earlier this week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said: ". It is my conviction that the ratification of the border treaty signed by Estonia and Russia remains in Estonia's interests and in principle, the current Government of Estonia is ready to move forward on this issue."

She later repeated this in an interview with ERR's Estonian portal.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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