Source Pravda.Ru

Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe may end, unless NATO reconsiders its stand

During 2002 Russia has fulfilled all the coordinated arms levels and fully complied with political obligations related to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, the CFE, head of the Russian delegation, ambassador Vladislav Chernov told journalists on Monday at the regular session of the Join Consultative group on the CFE.

Despite that, "at the end of the year we again saw the same stand of NATO at the alliance's summit in Prague, which connects the beginning of the modified CFE ratification process with Russia's fulfilment of the Istanbul agreements of 1999 on withdrawal of our troops and military property from Moldova and signing of an agreement with Georgia on terms and the order of functioning for Russian military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki," the Russian diplomat emphasized.

The stumbling stone for the CFE ratification is not the stand of Russia, which is doing its best, and not the Moldovan and Georgian problems that, unfortunately, do not have easy solutions, but the modified treaty itself, as it has turned out to be an efficient and politically important tool of arms control, Chernov believes.

"We do not rule out that unless NATO reconsiders its stand next year, the CFE may cease its existence," he stressed. "For Europe this will mean that history is just an academic subject that does not teach anything," Chernov pointed out.

He expressed his hope that next year Russian partners would choose the way of constructive cooperation that would allow the CFE to remain viable.