Russia suspends obligations under European arms control treaty

Russia suspended its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty at midnight Wednesday according to a law signed by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia suspends obligations under European arms control treaty

After the suspension, Russia will temporarily cease to release information and accept inspections, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The suspension also means that Russia will no longer be bound by any limitations on conventional arms and their concrete numbers will depend on the evolution of the military-political situation, the statement added.

The statement also said Russia would not immediately increase the strength of its Armed Forces along its borders, but would not hesitate to do so if the need arises.

"During the temporary suspension of Russia's participation in the CFE treaty, the country will not be bound by limitations (under the treaty), including by 'flank limitations,' on the number of deployed conventional weapons," the statement said.

"At the same time, we do not have plans to amass and concentrate these weapons on the borders with our neighbors."

The ministry said Russia could rejoin the treaty shortly after NATO countries ratify the adapted version of the CFE treaty, signed on Nov. 19, 1999, by all NATO countries except Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.

The original CFE treaty was signed in 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members. The document aims to maintain the military balance in Europe by setting equal limits for each signatory on five categories of conventional weapons - battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters.

The treaty, which came into force on Nov. 9, 1992, also lays down measures to enhance confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.

Russia had threatened several times to withdraw from the CFE amid tensions with the United States over U.S. plans to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Russia and the United States failed to reach any agreement on missile defense in Europe at talks in the "two-plus-two" format that were joined by senior officials of both sides in Moscow in October. Russia refused to give in to U.S. missile defense and CFE demands.

On April 26, Putin expressed for the first time the intention to impose a moratorium on the CFE Treaty while addressing the Federal Assembly (Parliament).

Putin signed a decree in July suspending Russia's participation in the treaty. The decree was subsequently approved by both houses of Russia's parliament.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2007, 16:27