Russian Duma delegation visits Tallinn

From the Estonian foreign ministry:

30 April 2007

Foreign Ministry shocked by the behaviour of the Russian Duma delegation

The Foreign Ministry expresses surprise over the behaviour of the Russian Duma delegation. The Estonian side put together a comprehensive programme, which allowed the visiting delegation to thoroughly familiarise itself with topics of interest to them. The Russian delegation refused to participate in the programme that was approved by the head of the delegation, Leonid Slutski, the Vice-President of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs committee. The members of the Duma did not participate in planned meetings at the Foreign Ministry, where the planned discussion was to cover questions related to the negotiations on the Estonia-Russia war graves agreement.

Upon arrival, the members of the Duma began making unrealistic demands, such as demanding a meeting with arrested Estonian citizen Dmitri Linter.

In addition, the State Duma delegation refused to participate in a joint press conference with Riigikogu Vice-Chairman Kristiina Ojuland and Chairman of the Riigikogu’s Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser, where members of the diplomatic corps were invited to attend. The refusal to participate was explained by a demand to organise a press conference for the press behind closed doors in the Russian Embassy. This demand was based on the absurd assertion that all journalists would not have access to the press conference that was to be held in the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry apologises for any inconveniences created by the Russian delegation for those journalists and representatives of the diplomatic corps who had come to attend the press conference.

The Foreign Ministry affirms that Estonia is always prepared and open to all contacts. However, it cannot agree with absurd statements and unreasonable demands.


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