ERR News – Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on March 12, gave the green light for holding the next round of border treaty talks with Russia. Following an address from the Estonian foreign minister and ambassador to Russia, the parliamentary committee, which will be in Moscow from April 9 to 12, endorsed the current course of talks with Russia.
The Estonian side has proposed, following a plan by Estonian Foreign Policy Institute Director Lauri Mälksoo, that the new border treaty focus only on the practical aspects of the border, excluding complicated disputes such as Estonia's historical continuity of statehood.
"Our interest is that the wording used in the agreement does not in any way compromise our nation's principle of legal continuity," Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the committee, which last July met with Russian counterparts for the first time in six years, an event hailed as a major step forward in bilateral relations.
A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, MP Margus Hanson, said: "In a pragmatic approach, the new agreement would change the  border, and if we talk only of the border and leave out all other standpoints established by the Treaty of Tartu, it should satisfy both our side and theirs."
On March 11, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the Mälksoo proposal is one of the more realistic options on the table.
"We have talked about and continue to talk about various possibilities. One of the possibilities is indeed to clearly say in the agreement that the agreement deals with the border and the border only, to rule out all other interpretations," Paet said on Monday.
"We have discussed different possibilities with the Russian side and these consultations in the last months have certainly not been easy," Paet said.
In a Hurry
Estonian Ambassador to Moscow Jüri Luik said Russia is in a hurry to resolve the border dispute.
"Theoretically this could go very quickly; it really depends on the course of the negotiations," said Luik, who was part of the Estonian delegation to the consultations that took place in Moscow in October and Tallinn in December.
"The Russian side is interested in resolving all of its border disputes. It does not only involve Estonia. As you know, some time ago a border agreement was signed with Norway, so this is a broader process and is not central to Estonia," Luik said.