Estonian parliament ratifies border agreements with Russia

TALLINN, June 20 (RIA Novosti, Nikolai Adashkevich) - The Estonian parliament ratified border agreements with Russia at an emergency session Monday by 78 against four votes, with 68 out of 101 votes required.

The Russian and Estonian foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Urmas Paet, signed the treaties on the Russian-Estonian borders and on delimitating the sea in the Bay of Narva and the Bay of Finland in Moscow on May 18.

On June 15, Estonian parliamentarians postponed ratification of border agreements with Russia till July 15. Then the Res Publica opposition party refused to participate in the voting, after deputies of the ruling coalition had not supported the opposition's idea to mention Estonia's occupation and annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940-1941 in the preamble to the bill.

However, consultations helped the deputies find a mutually acceptable solution. Parliamentary factions of the opposition suggested that the preamble to the bill on the ratification of the border agreements be amended.

According to the amendment, the preamble reads that the Estonian parliament ratified the border treaties in accordance with the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia declared on February 24, 1918, as it is laid down in the country's constitution. Besides, the preamble includes reference to the Estonian Supreme Council's decision of August 20, 1991 On Estonia's State Independence, and the parliamentary declaration On Restoring the State Constitutional System of October 7, 1992. The latter was included in the declaration at the opposition's request.

Hence the new preamble contains no direct reference to Estonia's occupation and annexation. However, the legal acts that may be included in the preamble make some indirect allusions to the effect. For example, the parliamentary declaration of October 7, 1992 reads that Estonia fell victim to the Soviet aggression in 1940 and was illegally annexed to the USSR.

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