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The East: Treaty Re-negotiation To Limit Military Forces, Arms

Vienna, 15 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Arms negotiators in Vienna say they are making progress on amending a basic treaty limiting conventional military forces in Europe, and that they hope to conclude preliminary negotiations by the end of this month.

The Treaty is the so-called CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) treaty, a 1990 agreement which limits the number of tanks, artillery, armored cars, battle helicopters and war planes - and their crews - which may be deployed by NATO and the members of the former Warsaw Pact. The treaty is being re-negotiated to meet the new conditions since the collapse of Communism.

The chief U.S. delegate, General Greg Govan, told RFE/RL yesterday that originally it was planned to achieve a preliminary agreement by next Friday, when the current session is scheduled to adjourn for the Summer. However, some details remain open, and it has now been agreed to continue the session until the end of this month.

General Govan said Russia had put forward ideas for adapting the treaty, but that Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Kazakhstan also had separate ideas. He said that obviously they don't always match those of Russia. Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia also had their own proposals for ensuring military security.

The CFE negotiations were among topics discussed by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russia's Foreign Minister Yevgency Primakov in St Petersburg at the weekend.