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Russia Unveils Proposal For European Security Treaty

In Berlin last year, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said NATO has been "unable to find a new meaning for its existence" since the end of the Cold War.
(RFE/RL) -- Moscow has released a draft of a proposal for a new European security agreement the Kremlin says should replace outdated institutions such as NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The text, posted on the Kremlin's website on November 29, comes more than a year after President Dmitry Medvedev first formally raised the issue. Speaking in Berlin in June 2008, Medvedev said the new pact was necessary to finally update Cold War-era arrangements.

"I'm convinced that Europe's problems won't be solved until its unity is established, an organic wholeness of all its integral parts, including Russia," Medvedev said.

Medvedev called the United States, European Union, and Russia the "three branches of European civilization." But Western countries have largely ignored his proposals so far. Analysts say the Kremlin proposal is unrealistic and chiefly aimed at boosting Moscow's role in international affairs by undermining NATO and the OSCE.

Speaking in Berlin last year, Medvedev said NATO has been "unable to find a new meaning for its existence" since the end of the Cold War.

"Today they're trying to find it by trying to globalize the alliance's mission, including by encroaching on the prerogatives of the UN and attracting new members," he said. "It's clear that won't solve the tasks at hand."

In a statement on its website on November 29, the Kremlin said the new European security treaty would be based on the principle that "no nation or international entitled to strengthen its own security at the cost of other nations or organizations."

The draft calls for the UN Security Council to "bear primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security." Russia is one of the council's five veto-holding, permanent members.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would reply to the Kremlin's draft.

'Propaganda Exercise'

Relations between Moscow and the West sank to near Cold War levels when Russia invaded neighboring Georgia in August 2008, shortly after issuing its proposal for a new security agreement.

Analysts say the Russian initiative isn’t really aimed at improving relations. Political expert Andrei Piontkovsky calls it a set of "empty declarations."

"It's a kind of propaganda exercise in a very old tradition of Soviet peace initiatives," Piontkovsky says. "I don’t think Moscow seriously hopes that this document will be signed."

Piontkovsky says the draft provides only a vague promise for countries "to be friendly," and that it's unclear even who the signatories would be.

The text also says members would be "entitled to consider an armed attack against any other party an armed attack against itself." But unlike NATO's Article 5, the Russian proposal wouldn't oblige members to respond to attacks against fellow members.

Beyond another polite response, Piontkovsky says, Western countries won’t seriously consider the treaty proposal.