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Estonia/Russia: Border Treaty Desired Despite Primakov's Remarks

Tallinn, 10 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Estonia says it will not give up the idea of signing a border treaty with Russia, despite yesterday's remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

Primakov said Moscow is unwilling to sign such a treaty until the situation of the Russian minority in Estonia improves. He also said Russia will continue to pressure Estonia on humanitarian issues. He spoke of the possibility of economic sanctions.

Estonian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiri Arusoo says that both countries are interested in signing a border document, and that his side has no intention of giving up that idea.

In an initial reaction, Estonian Foreign Minister Toomes Ilves called the Russian attitude "strange." He said it's "regrettable and incomprehensible" for Primakov to speak of refusing to sign a treaty, considering he had agreed to sign months ago.

Ilves says the prospective treaty places the frontier exactly where Russia itself fixed the line unilaterally more than two years ago.

The Estonian cabinet scheduled a meeting to discuss Primakov's remarks. At last word it had not adopted a position on the matter.