Today is the deadline for the parties to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty to ratify the May 1996 review conference final document which modified the treaty rules regarding the so-called "flanks" zone. This dealt with the amount of military equipment Russia could deploy in its Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts. Limits were also set for Ukraine’s Odessa military district. Although all 30 countries involved agreed to the changes at the 1996 conference, several former Soviet republics later had second thoughts and argued that the changes, which allowed Russia to deploy more equipment in the zone than in the original treaty, threatened their security.
Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine had signaled their serious reservations about the proposed changes. However, Georgia ratified the document on May 13, and Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma said yesterday that he had signed a decree on Ukraine’s adherence to the changes. Although the U.S. Senate passed the ratification resolution unanimously, it stipulated a number of reservations. Many of these sought to ensure that Russia would not be able to keep its forces on neighboring territory without the full approval of the states involved. (Interfax, RFE/RL, C-Span2, May 14)
Evil Empire Still Alive.