Estonia May Give Up Preamble, But Not Tartu Treaty in Russian Border
Eestlased Eestis 11 Mar 2013  EWR
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ERR News
A new proposed solution to the Estonian-Russian border treaty could lead to an agreement coming this year, according to an adviser in the ongoing talks, Lauri Mälksoo, the freshly appointed director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute.

Mälksoo, a University of Tartu law professor, told ETV on Sunday that the Estonian side has proposed that the new border treaty solely entail the practical aspects of the border, excluding the entire issue of Estonia's historical continuity of statehood.

Estonia will probably have to give up the inclusion of a preamble similar to the one that derailed the treaty ratification process in 2005. "In this case, there would no longer be any need for the preamble,“ Mälksoo said.

Although the preamble drafted in the Estonian ratification act for the border treaty in 2005 had no legal significance, its reference to the 1920 Treaty of Tartu prompted Russia to pull out of the agreement. After years of stalemate, Estonia and Russian diplomats began meeting again over the border treaty last year.

The new solution would not affect the Tartu Peace Treaty, Mälksoo said. "Upon agreeing on a new border treaty, Article 2 of the Tartu Peace Treaty will remain in effect in the relations of our two countries and such a provision cannot be retracted," he said.

"The wording was conceived and offered by the Estonian side. It is the minimum needed to satisfy our interests, to defend us from the worst case scenario. It is in our interest to ensure that no one can later say that Estonia surrendered its legal continuity," Mälksoo said. "As the Americans say: good fences make good neighbors."
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