Washington, 15 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Senate is mandating a special report from the President of the United States on whether Armenia is shipping conventional arms to separatists in the Nagorno-Karabakh province in neigboring Azerbaijan.
The requirement was one of several conditions attached to the Senate's approval of amendments to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. The Senate consented to ratification of the CFE amendments by a vote of 100-0 late last night.
The specific conditions attached to the CFE ratification legislation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are binding only on the President of the United States.
The Senate is dominated by the Republican Party, which is at odds with many aspects of Democratic President Bill Clinton's foreign policy. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), had made it clear that the Senate would not approve U.S. ratification of the changes to the CFE treaty unless the President agreed to the Senate's conditions.
For Armenia, the Senate mandated that the President send it a report no later than next August 1 stating whether Armenia is in compliance with the treaty, "in allowing the transfer of conventional armaments and equipment limited by the treaty through Armenian territory to the secessionist movement in Azerbaijan.
The Senate resolution says that if Armenia is violating the CFE, then the President must report what actions the United States is taking to implement sanctions.
Another condition added by the Senate says the United States will support the right of Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan to reject any request for temporary deployment on their territory and any request for a reallocation of their current arms quota.
The Senate amendment also urges the U.S. Secretary of State to make it a priority to open talks "with the objective of securing the immediate withdrawal of all armed forces and military equipment under the control of the Russian Federation deployed on the territory of any state" without its full agreement.
The changes to the actual CFE treaty were negotiated last year and signed by 30 countries. The deadline for signatory countries to ratify the agreement is today.
The agreement retains limits on the quantity and types of equipment that Russia can place in various zones along its borders. But it shrinks the size of the flank zones of the original treaty, allowing Russia more flexibility in the placement of forces. The treaty also allows Russia to negotiate with its neighbors for the temporary deployment of forces outside Russian territory.