Sa, 4.02.2023
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Estonia, Russia to exchange 128.6 hectares of land under border treaty

Estonia, Russia to exchange 128.6 hectares of land under border treaty
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Photo: Peeter Kümmel/Sakala.

As a result of adjustments to be made to the frontier line when the border treaty between Estonia and Russia steps into force the countries will swap 128.6 hectares of land, with both sides giving away and getting an equal area.

"When the border treaty takes effect the sides will make adjustments to the boundary line so that it would run more logically on the ground. While bigger and smaller pieces of land alike will be swapped, the outcome will be zero and neither side will get more land than it gives away," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet told BNS on Tuesday.

He dismissed as incorrect the report published in the media on Monday which suggested that Estonia was about to get two hectares of land more than it was giving away.

The adjustments to the boundary line were set out already under the border treaties signed in 2005. All these agreements will remain valid also upon the signing of the new border treaty, spokespeople for the Estonian Foreign Ministry said.

For instance, Estonia is about to get from Russia 8.4 hectares of land of the Valgemetsa farm in Voru County, one hectare in Perdaku village and 2.6 hectares near Lutepaa in Polva County. The most important of the adjustments would give Estonia 115.5 hectares between Lutepaa and Sesniiku villages, or the boot-shaped area of Russia dubbed the Saatse Boot which extends through the road between the two Estonian villages.

Russia meanwhile stands to get 68,9 hectares in Marinova forest, 12 hectares in Jemeljanova village, 3.4 hectares in the Lazareva limestone quarry and 1.8 hectares in Ulanovo village in Voru County. Of lands that at present are part of Estonia's Polva County Russia would get 33.9 hectares in Grabilovo bog and 5.5 hectares near Mustjoe.

Smaller pieces of land are to change hands elsewhere along the frontier line.

The Estonian government at its May 22 meeting approved the bill of the border treaties between Estonia and Russia. The parliamentary foreign affairs committee gave its nod to the bill on May 14.

The foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament together with all party groups and non-aligned deputies proposed to the government last October to start consultations with Russia to find a way for concluding a border treaty. It said the proposal is based on the knowledge that Estonia wishes to develop relations respecting each other's sovereignty and legal continuity with all of its neighbors, including Russia.

The proposal was issued after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said on Sept. 1 that Russia was ready to reopen negotiations with Estonia on concluding a border treaty.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Lavrov signed treaties on the land and maritime borders between Estonia and Russia in May 2005.

The Estonian parliament ratified the treaties in June of the same year after adding a preamble to the ratification law to say that in ratifying the border treaties the parliament had in mind that in accordance with Article 122 of the Constitution the border treaty would partly change the line of the state border defined in the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920 but would not affect the rest of the Tartu Peace Treaty and would not define treatment of any bilateral issues not connected with the border treaties.

Russia said it saw the preamble as opening the way to future territorial claims and withdrew its signature at the end of June. Estonia has on repeated occasions denied having territorial claims on Russia.