Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 108

Latvia and Lithuania yesterday expressed concern over changes to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which were reportedly conceded to Russia by the Clinton administration in bilateral talks. Latvia’s Foreign Ministry in a statement voiced "deep concern over the possible growth of military forces in the Baltic region," and Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs said on radio that Baltic security interests may have been "to some extent sacrificed." Latvian and Lithuanian officials said that they are seeking clarifications from the U.S. embassies in their respective capitals and in Washington.

The officials noted that the proposed changes would allow Russia to deploy 600 heavy armored vehicles instead of the present 180 in the Pskov region opposite Estonia and Latvia. Lithuanian officials said that although their country does not abut on that Russian region, Lithuanian security is affected because Baltic security is indivisible. The officials indicated that the Baltic states had not been consulted on the amendments; and that a perception that the Baltic states are unprotected may impair their chances for NATO membership. The officials stressed that the proposed treaty changes are subject to the consent of all countries signatory to the CFE treaty. (BNS, June 4). The Latvian and Lithuanian expressions of concern follow those of Estonia yesterday (see Monitor, June 4). At a Moscow briefing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin "noted with satisfaction the constant U.S.-Russian cooperation, stemming from high-level understandings" on amendments to the CFE treaty. (Itar-Tass, June 4)

More Senior Officials Signal Differences with Lukashenko.