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Russia seeks new border talks with Estonia to avoid claims

MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - A deputy Russian foreign minister said Thursday that Russia insists on resuming negotiations on a border agreement with Estonia to avoid any future territorial claims.

Vladimir Titov said Russia was seeking further talks to prevent a situation when Estonia could make territorial claims against Russia using a border agreement that the two sides signed. Estonia ratified the agreement but Russia refused to follow suit after Tallinn inserted some new provisions.

"The problem is that they [Estonians] included provisions in the ratification law that can be seen as legally entitling them to make some territorial claims on us," Titov said.

The two countries signed border agreements on May 18, 2005, and the Estonian parliament ratified the documents on June 20, but with additional demands linked to the 1920 peace treaty between Soviet Russia and Estonia. On September 6, Russia notified Estonia that it was revoking its signature from the treaties because the 1920 document was no longer valid.

Titov said more than a month ago Russia had proposed including a provision "that all the previously signed agreements and treaties in bilateral history outlining the border line are invalid."

The diplomat said Estonia had replied that it had no intention of resuming negotiations.

"We hope a more realistic approach will take the upper hand, and the ball is in their court," he said.

Titov said the issue was linked to Estonian politics, and added that the Estonian government "seems to have no chance of convincing parliament to change its mind."

He suggested waiting until parliamentary elections in Estonia in spring.

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Wednesday that the Estonian diplomats' statements that the country's government had no plans to hold border talks with Russia had created a deadlock.

"On September 4, 2006 the Estonian Foreign Ministry sent us a note informing us that the Estonian government has neither the authority nor intention of holding new talks with Russia on border agreements," Kamynin said.

He also said that after Russia pulled out from the border treaties, the documents immediately became invalid under international law.

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