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Foreign Affairs Committee: Avoid EU-sanctioned issues in Russian relations

Head of the Estonian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Marko Mihkelson.
Head of the Estonian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Marko Mihkelson. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

At its Monday meeting, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu decided by consensus to send the Board of the Riigikogu its positions regarding the foreign visits of committees.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said that in relations with Russia, the Committee recommended avoiding official meetings that address issues that are sanctioned by the EU.  

Mihkelson said that Estonian foreign policy in relations with Russia was consistent and corresponded to the common policy of the EU. "Key conditions in the relations with Russia are ending the aggression against Ukraine and full implementation of the Minsk agreements," Mihkelson said. He added that at all EU meetings, Estonia had stressed the need for a common Russia policy and continuing of the policy of sanctions until the Minsk agreements were implemented.

Director General of the Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Paul Teesalu provided the committee with an overview of the development of the relations between Estonia and Russia.

As a result of the discussion, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee found that such official visits that could put the common positions of the EU regarding the relations with Russia in doubt should not be supported. Nonetheless, the committee does not disapprove of parliamentary communication, and parliaments can have relations at the level of parliamentary friendship groups.

"The initiative of MPs, together with Estonia's business circles, to communicate with their partners is not disapproved of in any way," Mihkelson clarified. In his opinion, it is bilateral meetings held during an official visit and address sanctioned issues that raise questions.

Mihkelson: Parliamentary-level cooperation with Russia frozen

Mihkelson also said that international cooperation with Russia at the parliamentary level was essentially frozen. Russia has been suspended from meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.  

The Finance Committee and the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu have discussed visits to Moscow. The Economic Affairs Committee will decide on Thursday whether to attend TransRussia, the international exhibition for transport and logistics in Moscow, together with the Estonian entrepreneurs.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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