Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 76

In rewriting the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, and trying to assuage Russian concerns about NATO expansion, the three new members of NATO–the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland–have made particular concessions. They have agreed to reduce the size of their weapons holdings and have pledged that, even were these to be augmented by some weapons of their NATO allies, the total inventories–domestic and foreign–would be lower than their current CFE limits. As an example, Poland is now allowed to have 1,730 main battle tanks. By 2003, it would be allowed no more than 1,577. In return, Russia has reportedly pledged to limit the deployment of its forces in Kaliningrad Oblast and the Pskov region.

The new treaty will allow for the temporary deployment of additional weapons for such things as notified military exercises or UN- or OSCE-mandated peacekeeping missions. Again using tanks as an example, a country’s territorial holding limits could be augmented by as many as 459 tanks, depending on its geographic location. All such deployments must have the consent of the host country. Moldova, with its unhappy history as an unwilling host to a “temporary” Russian deployment, has renounced its rights to this provision.

The Russian portion of the so-called “flanks” region of the old treaty–the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts–have created friction since the original treaty was enacted. The signatories made some concessions to the Russians in May 1996, allowing them to station more armored combat vehicles (ACVs) in the Caucasus than called for in the treaty. Under a new provision agreed upon last month, the total Russian flank limit for ACVs will remain the same, but the sublimit for the Caucasus region will be increased. In return, the Russians reportedly agreed to take some of their military equipment out of Georgia and Moldova.