Russia Calls For Conference On CFE Treaty

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Russia has requested an emergency conference to discuss the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) Treaty. The Foreign Ministry said that Russia has approached the Netherlands, the depositary of the treaty, with a request to call an emergency conference on June 12-15 in Vienna.

President Vladimir Putin last month said Russia will suspend compliance with the treaty because NATO members Slovenia and the Baltic states have not signed it, while other NATO signatories have not ratified it and are not abiding by its provisions.

The United States and other NATO members insist that those countries may not accede to the treaty until all existing signatories ratify it, which they will do only after Russia makes good on commitments it gave at the 1999 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul on withdrawing its forces from Transdniester and Georgia.

Russia has rejected such linkage as "absurd" and has "transformed the arms control regime in Europe into a tool for achieving political objectives that have nothing to do with European security," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on May 23.

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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