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U.S. Refuses Arms Treaty While Russian Troops In Moldova, Georgia

Nicholas Burns (L) with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic (epa) Ljubljana, 6 December (RFE/RL) -- The United States has told Moscow that it will not sign a new treaty on conventional military forces until Russia withdraws all its troops and equipment from separatist republics in Georgia and Moldova.

The U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Nicholas Burns, said today at a meeting of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana that it was impossible to reconcile the continued presence of Russian troops with the arms treaty.

"A basic principle of the CFE (Conventional Forces Europe) Treaty is the right of sovereign states to decide whether to allow the stationing of foreign forces on their territory,” Burns declared. “Moldova and Georgia have made their choice. The forces should depart and all OSCE member-states should respect that choice."

Burns said that there had been some progress this year on Russia withdrawing its troops from Georgia. But, he said, there had been no progress on Moldova since 2003.

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