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Estonia's Parliament Ratifies Russia Border Treaty

20 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Estonian lawmakers ratified a long-awaited border treaty with Russia today, but only after adding a reference to the Soviet occupation of the country in a preamble.

The amendment was included despite warnings from Russia not to add any declarations that would be unacceptable to Moscow.

Moscow has refused to label the five-decade Soviet stay in the Baltics as occupation, saying Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania willingly joined the Soviet Union.

Lawmakers in the 101-seat parliament ratified the treaty in a 78-4 vote. Nineteen lawmakers did not take part in the vote.

Russia must still ratify the treaty. Moscow balked at signing a planned border treaty with Latvia in May because Latvia insisted on attaching a statement similar to the one approved by Estonia.