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NATO secretary general urges swift ratification of adapted CFE

RIA Novosti

08/06/2007 19:24

BRUSSELS, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - NATO's secretary general urged Friday swift ratification of the adapted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and stated that Moscow's threat to aim missiles at Europe in response to similar U.S. plans was "unhelpful and anachronistic."

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer words came amid concerns raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin in late April who said Russia could withdraw from the CFE Treaty, following U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Speaking ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, President Putin said the United States' mooted missile bases in Europe would be part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and that Russia could be forced to aim its nuclear weapons at Europe.

"If part of the U.S.' strategic nuclear arsenal is located in Europe and our military experts find that it poses a threat to Russia, we will have to take appropriate retaliatory steps," he said "We will have new targets in Europe."

Russia, concerned over Europe's refusal to ratify the re-drafted version of the accord, and the acceptance by certain European Union states of U.S. missile shield plans on the continent, proposed last week holding an emergency CFE conference in Vienna on June 12-15.

The original CFE Treaty, signed in 1990 to reduce conventional military forces on the continent and amended in 1999 in Istanbul in line with post-Cold War realities, has so far only been ratified by Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. Moldova and Georgia have refused to ratify the CFE until Russia withdraws its troops form their territory. This issue has allegedly prevented other NATO countries from ratifying it as well.

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