Russia and Estonia finally signed border treaty which was hailed by the United States as a positive step in strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
According to media reports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Estonian Urmas Paet in Moscow to sign the deal.
Both countries are set to ratify the deal by their parliaments.
Relations between Moscow and Tallinn were strained when Russia collapsed in 1991. Russia accused the small Baltic country of Estonia of discriminating against its Russian population minorities.
Amid the strained relations between the two countries, Russia and Estonia enjoy growing economic activity for the past years. In fact, Russia is Estonia’s second largest trading partner after the European Union.
Countries Hail the Agreement
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the United States welcomes the signing of an agreement between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation to demarcate the border between their two nations.
Ms. Psaki noted that the agreement is a positive development and a sign of a productive relationship between the two countries.
“We look forward to the treaty’s ratification and implementation.” – Ms. Psaki
She highlighted that the United States has recognized Estonia continuously since 1922, and it remains committed to Estonia’s freedom, security, and independence.
Ms. Psaki underscored that the U.S. and Estonia are bound in a close bilateral relationship by shared economic and security interests including membership in NATO, a shared dedication to human rights and democratic values, and a common cultural heritage.
In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Estonian’s capital of Tallinn welcomed the treaty and pledged to support “a neighborly and productive relationship between these two nations.”
Even NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Twitter also dubbed the border deal “a significant development.”
Territorial issues are said to strain Estonian-Russian relations. Estonia wished for the returned of more than 2,000 square kilometers of territory next to Russia by Stalin in 1945.
In the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty, they annexed land had been within the borders Estonia approved by Russia.
However, the Yeltsin government disregard the treaty under the acts of Soviet regime.
In recent years particularly on September 2005, Russia sent a note on Estonia expressing its intention not to become a party to the border treaties between two countries.
Only this year, the border issues resurfaced again and both countries finally agreed to sign the border pact on the goal to strengthen ties.