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Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (file photo) (NATO) April 26, 2007 -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer today confirmed Russia is suspending participation in a key arms-control treaty.


Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would freeze its compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) because NATO members have not ratified the pact and are not abiding by its provisions.


De Hoop Scheffer said Putin's decision was later confirmed to NATO by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.


De Hoop Scheffer said NATO allies are "gravely concerned" about the decision. He said the allies believe the treaty to be one of the cornerstones of European security.


The CFE treaty was signed by members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. It was later modified after the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and expansion of NATO. Only four countries -- Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine -- have ratified the revised treaty.


NATO members say they will ratify the new version once Russia meets commitments it made in 1999 to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Moldova.


(AFP, AP)


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