Russia and Estonia have signed a border pact that took the two countries 23 years to negotiate.

The Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Sergei Lavrov and Urmas Paet, sealed the border treaty at their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday. Estonia is the last of the three Baltic states to have legalised its border with Russia.

It is the second time the two countries finalised the pact. The first time they signed it in 2005, but Russia recalled its signature after Estonian Parliament added a preamble referring to a long-dead 1920 treaty between Russia and then independent Estonia. The mention of the treaty opened the way for Estonia to advance territorial claims to two Russian border towns.

Estonia eventually backed away and dropped any mention of the controversial treaty. Russia also insisted on including a pledge that the two countries have no territorial claims to each other.

Mr. Lavrov made it clear that Russia will continue to press its grievances on Estonia.

“We do not shy away from complicated issues that remain in our relations,” he stated at a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart.

Mr. Paet expressed the hope that Russia would now lift its restrictions on Estonian food exports to Russia imposed earlier this year. Estonia sends more than 18 per cent of its farm exports to Russia and is keen to attract more Russian tourists.

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