Three years on, Estonians debate border treaty with Russia
After three years of silence, Estonians dove into a fierce debate over a border treaty with Russia, which is supposed to control the only unregulated border in the 27-nation European Union, reported dpa.
A member of the European Parliament from Estonia, Toomas Savi, said Estonia should drop references to the Soviet occupation and establish the border control between the small Baltic republic and its big neighbour, local media reported Tuesday.
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves came in for a storm of criticism from the government last week after he suggested that the Estonian parliament should reconsider the border treaty.
Estonia is the only EU nation that has no effective border agreement with Russia. Russia pulled out of the treaty in 2005 after a decade of talks, arguing that the Estonian parliament had included a territorial claim on Russia and indirect references to the Soviet occupation.
Ilves made his comments after returning from Russia where he met with President Dmitry Medvedev.
Ilves' critics say Russia wants to make it seem as if Estonia is stalling the signing of the treaty, which aims to regulate the 338-kilometre border between the two countries.
His supporters argue that the indirect references to the Soviet occupation do not add any value to the treaty.
The parliament added clauses to the law on the ratification of the agreement, mentioning the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, which established the prewar borders between Estonia and the Soviet Union.
In 1940 Estonia was occupied by Soviet forces, who were driven out by Nazi Germany in 1941 but returned in 1944. Estonia remained part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
The agreed border is the frontier between Russia and Estonia as it stood when they were both republics of the Soviet Union.
Estonia had to give up 5% of its pre-World War II territory under the deal.
Russia believes recognising the peace treaty's legitimacy is an attempt by Estonia make territorial claims on Russia because Estonian borders had been amended during the 50-year Soviet occupation. dpa tap jab