MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will resume border negotiations with Latvia and Estonia only after the two Baltic states withdraw political demands on Russia, the foreign minister said Wednesday.
Talks on border treaties between Russia and the two countries have stalled over territorial issues inserted into new versions of agreements by Estonia and Latvia, and the two countries' claims for compensation over what they term Soviet occupation.
Sergei Lavrov said Russia would only rejoin negotiations if the Baltic states returned to the original documents and remove the political subtexts.
"But as long as these political links are there, returning to the negotiating table is out of the question," he said.
A Latvian-Russian border treaty dating back to 1997 remains unsigned and unratified. Latvian politicians have looked to link the border settlement to a declaration from Russia that would admit Soviet aggression during the World War II and other issues.
Another major obstacle to signing the treaty is the territorial issue. Latvia has included a unilateral explanatory declaration to the draft border treaty, which allows it to claim Russian territory - the Pytalovo district in the Pskov Region - that was part of Latvia before WWII and was transferred to Russia in 1944.
The Russian and Estonian foreign ministers signed treaties on common borders on May 18, 2005, and the Estonian parliament ratified the documents on June 20, but with additional demands linked to the 1920 peace treaty between Soviet Russia and Estonia. On September 6, Russia notified Estonia that it was revoking its signature from the treaties because the 1920 document was no longer valid.
Relations between Russia and Estonia have been tense since the Soviet Union collapsed, with Estonia accusing Russia of 50-year occupation and Russia criticizing the Baltic republic for discrimination against ethnic Russian residents.