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Russia Dismisses NATO Offer For Talks On CFE Suspension

The treaty limits the deployment of heavy arms (ITAR-TASS) July 18, 2007 -- Russia has dismissed a NATO offer to hold talks on Moscow's decision to suspend its participation in a key European arms control treaty.

On July 16, NATO offered to hold an emergency conference to discuss Russia's suspension this month of its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.

Yevgeny Buzhinsky, a senior official at Russia's Defense Ministry, today said there is not "much point" in holding such a meeting. He said all sides should work on a new or adapted CFE pact.

Meanwhile today, NATO said that Russia's position regarding its participation in the CFE treaty and the future of the pact itself is "not yet clear" to the alliance.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai said NATO wants to hold further talks with Russia and described Buzhinsky's statements as "unhelpful."

(Interfax, Reuters, AFP)

Conventional Forces In Europe

Conventional Forces In Europe

A Russian soldier watching Russian armaments leave Georgia in 2006 (epa)

AGREEMENTS ON CONVENTIONAL FORCES IN EUROPE. The CFE treaty is an arms-control agreement originally negotiated between NATO and the Warsaw Pact as a guarantor of European security in Europe in the waning days of the Cold War.

  • The original CFE Treaty took 10 years to negotiate, was signed by 30 states ** in November 1990, and came in to force in 1992. Its aim: to reduce stockpiles of conventional armaments between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural mountains.

The blocs limited themselves to:

20,000 tanks
20,000 artillery pieces
30,000 armored combat vehicles
6,800 combat aircraft
2,000 attack helicopters

  • The CFE-1A, a 1992 addendum, has resulted in the withdrawal of more than 700,000 troops from Europe since 2001 and the destruction of 50,000 pieces of military equipment by 1995.
  • The CFE-II, negotiated in Istanbul in 1999, reflected the new, post-Soviet landscape by setting arms limits for individual countries, rather than zones. The agreement aided NATO's expansion efforts by allowing signatory states to allow foreign forces on their soil.
  • NATO states have not ratified the CFE-II due to concerns over Russia's failure to comply with commitments it made during the negotiations. Under the Istanbul Accords, Russia pledged to set a timetable for closing its remaining military bases in Georgia and to completely withdraw its forces from Moldova.
  • The CFE-II will come into force once ratified by all 30 CFE signatories. Thus far only Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine have ratified the CFE-II.
  • In ratifying the agreement in June 2004, Russia called on the signatories not to delay in ratifying the document. Russia expressed concern that Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, as nonmembers of the treaty, could possibly harbor NATO troops near its western border.

(** Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. )