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OSCE Says Would Like 'Accommodation' On CFE Treaty

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos (file photo) (OSCE) August 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has said it would like to see "accommodation" between Russia and the West on Moscow's withdrawal from the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.

The OSCE's chairman-in-office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, met today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

The CFE Treaty limits military deployments from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. On July 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that suspended Russia's participation in the treaty.

According to Putin, the treaty, originally signed in 1990 but revised in 1999 to reflect the end of the Cold War, has "clearly come to contradict reality."

OSCE spokesman Martin Nesirky told RFE/RL from Moscow today that the OSCE chairman-in-office is "very concerned" about the matter.

"He [Moratinos] wishes to see progress on trying to bring the sides together by the time we get to the Ministerial Council in November," Nesirky said. "So he is personally saying -- and he said so publicly -- this is not something that he necessarily just said in his meeting with Minister Lavrov -- that he wishes to work on some kind of declaration, which will help to pull things forward, or push things forward, towards reaching some kind of an accommodation on the CFE Treaty, the adapted version of the CFE Treaty."

Georgian Missile Incident Discussed

The ministers also discussed the August 6 incident in which Georgia accuses Russia of dropping a missile on its territory. Moscow denies the accusation.

Moratinos outlined the contents of a report prepared by his special envoy, former Croatian Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul, on meetings last week in Moscow and Tbilisi.

The report, which is not yet publicly available, will be presented by Zuzul at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on September 6.

"I think the key point here is that it's not the OSCE's role to pass judgment, or point the finger," spokesman Nesirky said. "It's to listen to all sides, and to recommend and seek ways to avoid similar incidents and tensions in the future. So this is not about trying to establish who was responsible, or what exactly happened, but to look to the future to try to find ways to ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again."

The ministers also discussed areas of cooperation in the run-up to the OSCE Ministerial Council, which is to take place in Madrid in late November.

They also discussed bilateral relations between Spain and Russia.

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. )