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Russia proposes urgent CFE treaty conference in Vienna June 12-15

RIA Novosti

28/05/2007 17:51

MOSCOW, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia proposed conducting an urgent conference of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty member states in Vienna June 12-15, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

"We hope our partners will display the political will to seek mutually acceptable solutions to overcome the current CFE crisis," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia's foreign minister said last week Russia plans to call an emergency conference of the signatories to the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe soon. We have to defuse "this increasingly absurd situation in the sphere of weapons control," Sergei Lavrov said at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) forum in Austria's capital.

Russia has ratified the adapted CFE treaty, which replaced an agreement reached at the end of the Cold War between NATO and the Eastern Bloc to curb the arms race, but of the countries that initially signed the pact, no NATO members have yet ratified it, demanding that Russia first withdraw from Soviet-era bases in Georgia and Moldova under the Istanbul Agreements.

President Vladimir Putin suggested recently that Moscow might suspend its obligations under the accord if talks with NATO countries show no visible progress in its implementation.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday Russia would no longer receive foreign inspectors or send notifications on the movement of troops under the CFE treaty.

The original CFE treaty, amended in 1999 in Istanbul in line with post-Cold War realities, has so far only been ratified by Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. The aim of the pact is to force members to reduce their conventional military forces.

Moscow has pointed out that NATO newcomers Slovakia and the three Baltic states have not joined the CFE treaty at all, despite a preliminary agreement that they would do so.


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