Estonia to sign border treaty with Russia in a few weeks

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Estonia hopes to sign a border treaty with the Russian Federation in early May

The Baltic state of Estonia expects to sign a border agreement with the Russian Federation in a few weeks, before the European Union-Russia Summit, which is set to take place in early May. Urmas Paet, the Estonian Foreign Minister said, "There are no concrete arrangements yet but we hope the border agreement will be signed by the time the EU-Russia summit begins in Moscow on May 10. Estonia is ready to sign today."

Estonia, the northernmost Baltic state, is one of only few EU countries to have a border with Russia

Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, said that the sooner the agreement is signed, the better. He stated that, "I'd be happy to witness the signing of your [Estonian] and the Latvian agreement with Russia. It is possible on May 10 but there are no guarantees."

Estonia and Latvia, which were occupied by the Soviet Union until the early 1990s, joined the European Union in 2004. The two countries both border the Russian Federation, and have been trying to sign definitive border treaties for a long time since independence, but Moscow has repeatedly delayed on signing.

Solana said he hoped the treaty would be signed at the EU-Russia Summit, because "Relations with the countries on the EU border [such as Russia] are very important."