Speaking at a symposium to mark the 75th anniversary of the Welles Declaration in Tallinn on Thursday, Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand said the U.S. policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by the Soviet Union has relevance also for the present day.
Kaljurand acknowledged the important role of the U.S. non-recognition policy in the restoration of Estonia's independence and emphasized that non-recognition is relevant also these days in view of the unlawful annexation of Crimea by Russia and the situation in eastern Ukraine, spokespeople for the Foreign Ministry said.
«We must collectively continue to loudly condemn the unlawful annexation of Crimea and vigorously pursue a policy of non-recognition,» the minister said. «Ukraine must be able to restore control over its internationally recognized border.»
U.S. Ambassador to Estonia Jeffrey D. Levine read out a part of Secretary of State John Kerry's statement on the occasion of the anniversary. «America has watched in admiration as the Baltic nations have built strong democratic institutions and taken their rightful place within the European and Trans-Atlantic communities,» the statement said.
On July 23, 1940 the U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, then acting secretary of state, issued a statement declaring the invasion of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union illegitimate. The Welles Declaration established a five-decade non-recognition of the Baltic states' annexation which ended with the restoration of their independence in 1991.