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Russia to Suspend CFE Treaty Participation
Special Contribution
From Russian Embassy in Seoul
Russian President Putin with his generals

A Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the Suspension by the Russian Federation of the Conventional Force in Europe Treaty and the Related International Treaties was signed on July 13, 2007. Both chambers of the Federal Assembly have been informed of the adopted decision, and an appropriate draft law is being introduced to the State Duma.

The Russian Federation's suspension of these international treaties will become effective 150 days after the receipt of Russia's suspension notifications by their depositaries and other states parties to the CFE Treaty. By President Vladimir Putin's instruction the Russian MFA is conveying the notifications on July 14, 2007.

In practical terms, in particular, providing information and receiving and conducting inspections will be temporarily suspended. Russia during the suspension will not be bound by any limits on conventional arms. But the real quantities of Russian military equipment will depend on the evolution of the military-political situation, particularly on the readiness of the other states parties to the CFE Treaty to show adequate restraint.

The suspension decision has no precedents in the recent history of Russia. This alone makes it understandable that taking it was not easy and resulted from a thorough and comprehensive analysis. This step was due to exceptional circumstances pertaining to the content of the CFE Treaty, affecting the security of the Russian Federation and requiring adoption of immediate measures.

The CFE Treaty in its present form is hopelessly outdated. Suffice it to say that it was signed in 1990 and proceeds from the existence of two opposed military-political alliances – NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Since then the Warsaw Treaty Organization ceased to exist. Neither does the Soviet Union exist any more. And the former allies of the USSR have jointed NATO. The 1990 CFE Treaty does not take all those changes into account.

The limits on the quantity of Russian weapons in different parts of our territory have also lost all sense. Today they hinder fighting international terrorism more effectively.

In 1999 the Agreement on the Adaptation of the CFE Treaty was signed at our initiative. To a certain extent, it rectified the distortions. But the western partners under farfetched pretexts have for more than seven years now prevented this Agreement from entering into force.

Moreover, as a result of the NATO enlargement the countries of the alliance, taken together, have gone beyond the limits of the old CFE Treaty on the arms quantities of the military-political alliance. Particularly glaring is this excess in the so called flank area, incorporating the north and south of Europe. A number of new NATO members have still not joined the CFE Treaty at all.

We had long ago warned the CFE parties that this kind of situation did not meet the security interests of Russia and could not continue endlessly. But we have not yet met with a constructive response to our lawful concerns and concrete proposals to rectify the situation.

The Russian moratorium does not mean that we are shutting the door to further dialogue. In case of the solution of the questions raised by us it will be possible to quickly ensure the collective fulfillment of the Treaty's provisions.

Our proposals on measures to restore the viability of the CFE regime remain on the negotiating table and the President of the Russian Federation has given the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other appropriate federal bodies of executive authority the instruction to track the reaction of the states parties to the CFE Treaty and report on the developments in the situation, presenting appropriate proposals if necessary. It is on this basis that decisions will be made on the further steps of Russia in regard to the CFE Treaty.

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