Russian-Estonian foreign ministers hold discussion for first time in five years

The 20-minute phone conversation is the first in five years and can be seen as a step forward in resolving tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border. [EPA-EFE/TOMS KALNINS]

Estonian and Russian foreign ministers, Eva-Maria Liimets and Sergei Lavrov, held a discussion last Friday on the situation in Ukraine and the unratified border agreement between Estonia and Russia, Estonian broadcaster ERR News reported.

The 20-minute phone conversation is the first in five years and can be seen as a step forward in resolving tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Liimets was said to have voiced her concern over the military escalation in and around Ukraine, encouraging Russia to stick to international commitments and respect territorial integrity and human rights.

While the Russo-Estonian border agreement appears to remain at a stalemate according to a series of reports, Liimets expressed Estonia’s desire to move forward with the ratification.

However, Russia has said that it wishes to abort mentions of the Treaty of Tartu signed in 1920 newly-independent Estonia and Bolshevik Russia. According to the treaty, some areas currently on Russian territory are stated as being on Estonia’s side of the border, meaning that if the border delimitations of the treaty were to be adopted, Russia would occupy some 5% of Estonian territory.

Commentators have already described the discussion as two separate monologues, with Estonian MP Marko Mihkelson saying the call between foreign ministers was more a way for the two to become acquainted, adding that what mattered was that a conversation had started. 

Meanwhile, a US official said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to Brussels this week for discussions on Iran, Afghanistan and Russian activities directed at Ukraine.

Blinken to return to Brussels for talks on Ukraine, Afghanistan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to Brussels this week for discussions on Iran, Afghanistan and Russian activities directed at Ukraine, a US official said.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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