Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Russian transport blockade of Estonia

Foreign Ministry summons Russian Ambassador

On Wednesday, 16 May, the Foreign Ministry summoned the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Nikolai Uspenski in connection with the blockade by Russia of cargo vehicles crossing the Estonian-Russian border in Narva.

The Ambassador’s attention was drawn to the fact that the Russian side has to abide by the intergovernmental agreement between Estonia and the Russian Federation on border crossing points on Estonian-Russian state border. The agreement says that the other side must be informed of traffic restrictions or the suspension of traffic at least 90 days in advance.

According to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, the border bridge is the property of the City of Narva and no works that could block traffic have been planned in the near future.

Russia must abide by bilateral treaties and generally accepted norms of conduct,” Paet emphasized. “Unilateral steps that impede traffic on the border bridge are unacceptable,” he added.

Russia has not notified Estonia of any restrictions. Ambassador Uspenski claimed that he did not possess any official information regarding restrictions concerning the border crossing in Narva.

The Ambassador’s attention was also drawn to the statement attributed to Vladimir Chizhov by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti. According to Ria Novosti, the Russian Ambassador to the European Union, Mr. Chizhov said at a news conference on Tuesday that Estonia was grossly violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and had prevented the Russian Consul from meeting the Russian citizens detained during the mass riots in Tallinn. Uspenski affirmed that was not the case and consular co-operation between the Russian Embassy, the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry and Estonian law enforcement agencies was good.

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