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OSCE chief emphasizes need to review treaty on conventional arms in Europe

March 01, 2017, 16:02 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

In 2007, Russia suspended the implementation of the CFE treaty saying that NATO countries were not abiding by their obligations

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OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier

OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier

© AP Photo/Ronald Zak

UNITED NATIONS, March 1. /TASS/. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) is obsolete and needs to be relooked, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Lamberto Zannier said in an interview with TASS. However, he said that it would be difficult to replace this treaty taking into account current tensions between Russia and the West.

"The arms control tools are not working. They need some relooking," Zannier said adding that "the CFE treaty is in many ways obsolete, it’s not working properly."

Zannier noted that he had chaired negotiations on the adaptation of the treaty but the Agreement on Adaptation, signed in 1999, at the Istanbul OSCE Summit, was never ratified. "That was a missed opportunity and now it will be much more difficult to come up with something like that," the OSCE secretary general said.

In 2007, Russia suspended the implementation of the CFE treaty saying that NATO countries were not abiding by their obligations, first and foremost, by delaying the ratification of the 1999 Agreement on Adaptation. In April 2015, Russia forwarded a message to the United Nations Secretariat saying that the treaty was outdated, but at the same time, expressing its readiness to discuss the ways to outline a new mechanism to control conventional weapons in Europe, taking into consideration current realities and ensuring the interests of all member states.

The CFE treaty, signed in 1990, proposed equal conventional weapons limits for two opposing military blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact. After the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist and NATO expanded, a need arose to review the treaty stipulating limits for each member state rather than any blocs.

In his interview with TASS, Zannier also spoke out in favor of reviewing confidence-building measures in the security sphere mentioned in the 2011 Vienna Document. "Some of them are not relevant, some of them are not working properly in the context of the new kind of conflict," he added. In this regard, Zannier said that shortly after the conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out, a group of the OSCE inspectors was detained by the local militia. "It was quite a struggle to get them out, also because they were perceived as hostile, as representing NATO," the OSCE secretary general said.

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