Vafa Guluzade, senior foreign policy adviser to President Haidar Aliev, said on May 7 that his country is unlikely to ratify a conditional agreement reached last May that would allow Russia to station more military equipment in the Caucasus region that had been originally permitted under the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. (Interfax, May 8) At the time, Azerbaijan had voiced its concern that the agreement would condone a Russian military presence in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Baku would only agree to the May 1996 compromise after a paragraph was drafted in the final documents of the CFE review conference specifically stating that the treaty provisions allowing for temporary deployments of equipment, or for one country to give part of its "quota" of equipment to another, would "not be used in the context of the Azerbaijan Republic."
The May 1996 flanks compromise was to have been ratified by all 30 parties to the CFE treaty by the time of the OSCE Summit last December. When only eight states had done so by that date, the deadline for ratification was extended until May 15 — less than a week away. The U.S. and all eight CFE countries that were once part of the Soviet Union have yet to ratify it. In recent weeks, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia have also expressed their concerns about the flanks accord. Should it not be approved, the whole issue will be reopened — something that could prove fatal to the current effort in Vienna to "adapt" the CFE treaty to present circumstances and that could complicate NATO’s effort to ease Russian concerns about NATO expansion.
Georgian Leaders Apparently Targeted by Assassination Attempt.