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Russia: Minister Links NATO Accord To CFE Changes

Moscow, 8 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov says Russia will make the signing of an accord on its future relations with NATO contingent upon changes to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty.

Primakov told the Itar-Tass news agency today that Russia will sign an accord on special relations with NATO once an agreement on updating the CFE has been reached.

Primakov also said that NATO's willingness to take account of Russian concerns at the talks on amending the CFE will be the main indication of the seriousness of the Alliance's intentions.

The 30 signatories to the CFE treaty are due to resume re-negotiating the treaty in Vienna this month. Russia aims to secure new limits on the ceilings for military deployments in eastern Europe ahead of any NATO offer of membership to Moscow's former allies in the region.

Primakov said NATO's pledge not to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members and to set up a consultations mechanism with full Russian participation are steps in the right direction, although "partial and insufficient."