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Russia dissatisfied with CFE extraordinary conference

RIA Novosti

15/06/2007 16:03

VIENNA, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is not satisfied with the results of an emergency conference of signatory countries to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), which ended in the Austrian capital Friday, the head of the Russian delegation said.

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 two weeks ago holding an extraordinary CFE conference in Vienna June 12-15.

"With all the constructiveness of the Russian approach, the final document was still not adopted," Anatoly Antonov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's security and disarmament department, told journalists in Vienna.

He said Russia was expecting serious dialogue supported by concrete actions, rather than endless rhetoric about the importance of the treaty and conditions for its ratification.

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 from their territory. Russia maintains a peacekeeping contingent in Georgia and a battalion guarding ex-Soviet ammunition depots in self-proclaimed republic of Transdnestr in Moldova.

NATO countries have insisted on Russia's withdrawal from Transdnestr and other post-Soviet regions as a condition for their ratifying the CFE treaty. NATO's reluctance to ratify the re-drafted pact is a key source of tension between Russia and the Western security alliance.

But Moscow said that "artificial links" between troop withdrawal and CFE ratification were "unacceptable" and "legally irrelevant," and threatened to impose a unilateral moratorium on the major arms reduction treaty in Europe.

Antonov said Friday that Russia would review the results of the Vienna conference and decide on further steps, although he reiterated Moscow was still open to dialogue on the treaty.

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