On Sunday, during a meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Estonia, the President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor recalled the speeches and discussions regarding the ratification of treaties on the withdrawal of Russian troops that were held in the Riigikogu and in the political world in general.
“Political debates of that time were mostly centred on the question of if the president Lennart Meri had the right to sign such a treaty with the Russian president Boris Yeltsin, as the government had not granted him such authorisation”, said Nestor. Nestor narrated the happenings of that time using both his remembrances and more than 100 pages of the Riigikogu verbatim records.
In August 1994, when Russian forces left the country, the Riigikogu gathered for an extraordinary session, but the 7th Riigikogu did not ratify those so called July treaties. The treaties were submitted for ratification on 1st August 1995, by the third government since the signing of the July treaties in 1994.
Nestor recalled that not all delegates were in favour of ratifying the treaty on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Estonia during the final vote. Ten people voted against the decision.
“And then a certain Eiki Nestor would ask here, in the White Hall, and in the corridors and the café: how could you even vote against adopting such a treaty?” Nestor said.
The meeting held in the Riigikogu on Sunday was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Estonia and to discuss the importance of this even for the present day.
The President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor, the then Prime Minister Mart Laar, the then Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Russia and the chief negotiator Jüri Luik, the then Head of the General Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces General Ants Laaneots and an Estonian diplomat at that time Eerik-Niiles Kross presented their speeches during the meeting.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson mediated the meeting.
Photos can be found here.
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