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OSCE Summit: Changes In Conventional Forces Treaty Considered

Lisbon, 1 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States says negotiations are underway at the Lisbon security summit on amending the treaty which limits the number of conventional forces which may be stationed in Europe.

A senior U.S. official involved in the negotiations says the negotiations focus on three major issues, including Russia's demand for changes which will allow it to locate more artillery and tanks in its flank areas, particularly the Caucasus.

Diplomats said the negotiations are taking place at the insistence of Russia, which has long argued that the original treaty signed in Paris in 1990 has been overtaken by the collapse of East/West confrontation and other political developments. The Paris treaty imposed sharp reductions on the number of tanks, artillery, armored carriers, combat helicopters and war planes which could be located in Europe by either NATO or the former Warsaw Pact.

Earlier this year the 30 signatories agreed to amend the treaty for a limited period to allow Russia to send more forces to the Caucasus. But Russian officials insist on further changes to the treaty to meet the changed political circumstances in Europe.