At a meeting today in Moscow, representatives of Estonia's Interior Ministry and Russia's Federal Agency for State Border Development signed an updated version of the two countries' agreement regulating border points.
The Agreement on the Passage Points for Crossing the Estonian-Russian Frontier, as it is officially called, had not been updated since 2002 and changes were needed to take the realities of Schengen into account, Deputy Interior Minister Erkki Koort, who signed the document on behalf of Estonia, said in a release.
Specifically, Koort said, the old version of the agreement didn't treat all citizens equally at all border points. At the northeastern Narva-2 and southeastern Saatse points, specifically, only citizens of Estonia and Russia and stateless residents were allowed to cross. The new text allows all temporary residents of the countries to cross, irrespective of citizenship.
The ministry said the two sides are to sign a separate agreement on cooperation and information exchange in order to coordinate their border activities.
"This agreement sets out principles for organizing information exchange and synchronizing plans for developing common border checkpoints. Our main goal is to develop border crossing points together in order to maximize throughput," said Koort.