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Wary of Russia; Azerbaijan Wins CFE Concessions

  • Roland Eggleston



Vienna, June 3 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijan has obtained a special concession in the new agreement on conventional forces in Europe to prevent even the temporary deployment of Russian troops on its territory.

Diplomats tell RFE/RL that Azerbaijan won the concession after hours of discussion at last week's negotiations in Vienna, which involved Russia, the U.S. and 28 other governments. Because of Azerbaijan's persistence, approval of the agreement was delayed until Saturday morning. The concession made to Azerbaijan is the final paragraph in the agreement, added after everything else had been accepted.

The new agreement is an amendment to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, controlling the number of tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, helicopters and aircraft, and their crews, which may be stationed in various regions of Europe.

The new agreement allows Russia to station more tanks, artillery and armored vehicles in the Caucasus than it is allowed under the treaty. This arrangement expires in May 1999.

Azerbaijan took exception to two other paragraphs, giving Russia additional rights, and insisted that the wording not apply to Azerbaijan. Diplomats said Baku's objections were strongly supported by Turkey.

One paragraph provided: "the Russian Federation shall have their right to utilize to the maximum extent possible the provisions of the 1990 treaty on temporary deployment of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles and artillery within its territory, and outside its territory. Such temporary deployments on the territory of other states-parties to the treaty shall be achieved by means of free negotiations and with full respect for the sovereignty of the states involved."

The second paragraph refers to an agreement reached in Tashkent May 15, 1992 which amended some of the provisions of the 1990 treaty. It allows countries to make bi-lateral arrangements on reallocating the quotas they have been given for tanks, artillery and armored combat vehicles. In effect, it means a country can decide to give some of its allocation to another. In this case, it means a country can agree to give some of its allocation of these weapons to Russia.

The paragraph agreed in Vienna last week says: "The Russian Federation shall have the right to utilize to the maximum extent possible reallocation, in accordance with existing agreements, of the current quotas for battle tanks, armored combat vehicles and artillery established by the agreement on principles and procedures for the implementation of the 1990 treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe done in Tashkent May 15, 1992. Such reallocations shall be achieved by means of free negotiations, and with full respect for the sovereignty of the states-parties involved."

Azerbaijan's objections to these provisions were finally accepted by the other governments at the conference.

The final paragraph of the document says: "Temporary deployment and reallocation of quotas (as referred to in Section IV, paragraphs two and three of the Vienna document) will not be used in the context of the Azerbaijan Republic."

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