RUSSIA’S LATEST THREAT TO PULL OUT OF CFE TREATY.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 138
Russia could pull out of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty on arms reduction if NATO expands eastward, a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official warned yesterday. Reiterating Russia’s position on the CFE treaty three days after it violated its terms, he said: "In the case of, say, former Warsaw Pact members Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic entering the alliance, the arms balance would change in NATO’s favor." The official said such expansion would "blow up" the CFE treaty and he recommended that a new treaty be agreed to along national lines rather than based on military blocs. It should expand from 30 to 53 signatories to include neutral countries and states formed after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, he said. "The treaty might be saved if the alliance includes new members but establishes weapons quotas for them," he said. Meanwhile, Turkey yesterday urged Russia to get on board with the treaty, which Moscow is technically violating by failing to reduce its military strength near Turkey’s borders. (9)
Treaty signatories were supposed to be in full compliance with the treaty by November 17. But Russia failed to carry out the required cuts on the northern and southern flanks, and actually increased its deployment on the southern flank when sending forces into Chechnya and nearby regions. The West failed to call attention to this violation during the past year. This failure and a series of recent statements from Russia’s foreign and defense ministries, in effect repudiating the treaty, create a disturbing precedent and cast a shadow over other security agreements Russia has signed. Other signatories have pledged to work to solve the dispute over the amount of weaponry allowed on Russia’s borders. Like Turkey, however, they have not missed the fact that Russia has already inflicted serious damage on the cause of future European security.
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