Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 106

After two weeks of negotiations, the thirty signatories to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, meeting in Vienna, agreed over the weekend to give Russia an extra three years to meet its treaty obligations in two contentious "flank areas." The new agreement effectively reduces the size of the flank areas, and freezes at current levels the amount of armor that Russia can maintain in those zones. Russia now has 1,897 tanks, 4,397 armored personnel carriers, and 2,422 pieces of artillery in the border areas. By May 31, 1999, Moscow will be obligated to cut 97 tanks, 697 armored personnel carriers, and 22 pieces of artillery. Russia had been in violation of the treaty since announcing last November that it would be unable to meet its force reduction commitments in these border zones, which lie in northern Russia around St. Petersburg and in the northern Caucasus. In the latter case, Moscow had said the war in Chechnya precluded it from cutting its forces as required.

Moscow also agreed to honor a pledge — not part of the CFE Treaty — made by the Soviet government to cut treaty-limited weapons east of the Ural Mountains by 14,500 pieces. All the signatory states were described as satisfied by the agreement, which was hammered out primarily by the U.S. and Russian delegations. Turkey, Norway, and the Baltic States had earlier been most concerned over Moscow’s requests to maintain higher force levels in the border regions. (AP, Reuter, UPI, May 31 & June 1)

Sobchak Ousted in St. Petersburg…