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Ukrainian Foreign Ministry worried over Russia’s suspension of CFE consultations

March 11, 2015, 20:12 UTC+3 KIEV
Russia decided to suspend its participation in meetings of the joint consultative group on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

KIEV, March 11. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is concerned over Russia’s decision to suspend participation in meetings of the Joint Consultative Group on the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s speaker Yevgeny Perebeinos told a news briefing on Wednesday.

"Of particular alarm is the suspension of Russia’s participation in the Joint Consultative Group on the CFE Treaty," Perebeinos said, adding that the current situation in Ukraine was the reason behind the expressed concerns.

The Russian Foreign Ministry declared on Tuesday Russia had made a decision to suspend its participation in the JCG starting from March 11, 2015. Russia’s suspension of its compliance with the CFE Treaty has now been implemented to the full extent. "That step by Russia is by no means tantamount to its refusal to have a further dialogue over conventional arms control in Europe, if and when our partners are ripe for it. We are still prepared for joint work on a new conventional forces regimen in Europe meeting the interests of Russia and other European states," the chief Russian delegate at the military security and arms control talks in Vienna, Anton Mazur, said.

On Wednesday, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, appeared at a news conference to declare that Russia’s decision to completely suspend its participation in the CFE treaty was not connected with the current situation in relations with the Western countries.

"In practical terms this (walkout from the CFE Joint Consultative Group) means that the 2007 decision to suspend Russia’s participation in the CFE treaty becomes comprehensive. Then we made an exception only for that group. By suspending Russia’s participation in the treaty in general we hoped to use the group as a dialogue site, possibly, even for talks. Those expectations failed, because the US counterparts prohibited their European allies to have a dialogue with Russia and undertook to settle all problems with Russia on their own. They failed." Ulyanov said.

"As a result, all work within the Joint Consultative Group was confined to reading out the agenda. That was a rather costly affair and very meaningless as well," he added.

"Russia’s comprehensive walkout from the CFE treaty was by no means a direct response to the latest actions by Western countries. That decision had taken shape a long while ago. The West’s latest policies towards Russia merely created a favorable background and made the decision easier to make," the diplomat said. "In practical terms no changes to the conventional forces in Europe will follow."

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