Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 18

Quoting several Foreign Ministry sources, the Interfax news agency on January 24 revealed some of Russia’s ideas about the current Vienna talks on revising the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. Recognizing that these talks were the "only real tool" Moscow had to mitigate the military effects of NATO’s expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, the Russians were said to have introduced a package of proposals in Vienna.

An unnamed ministry expert suggested that Russia seeks further reductions, including a proposal that current holdings of offensive arms — which he estimated at roughly 20 percent less than allowed by the treaty — should be maintained and later even decreased. Another possible proposal would be to restrict a military alliance (i.e., NATO) to less than one-half the total number of arms allowed by the treaty. This would be coupled with a restriction against stationing foreign troops where they had not been present in November, 1995.

Professor Yuri Fedorov, with the Institute of Foreign Relations, was quoted as saying that he was "not sure that the West will be delighted with our proposals. They most probably will not." Sergei Kislyak, director of the Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department, suggested that Moscow was interested in reaching an agreement as soon as possible. He said that the Russians "mean business and are prepared for constructive work." (Interfax, January 24)

Elections Under Way in Chechnya.