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Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty chapter is closed

Russia’s decision to quit the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty has drawn many comments

MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Russia has quit the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. It also walked out of the Joint Consultative Group, the last body linking it with that agreement. "This means that the 2007 decision to terminate Russia’s participation in the CFE treaty is becoming comprehensive," the director of the non-proliferation and arms control department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov, told the media on Wednesday.

Russia’s decision has drawn many comments.

The head of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, Viktor Ozerov, has said "it is a logical step, meeting the current military and political realities."

The chairman of the State Duma’s committee on defense, Vladimir Komoyedov, believes that "Russia had to suspend its participation in the CFE treaty due to US policies and as long as the current US administration is in office, one should hardly expect the emergence of anything similar to the 1990 treaty." The chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Kalashnikov, said: "Russia’s initiatives for security in Europe repeatedly rammed into the counter-productive Western stance. And the former chief of Russia’s General Staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, said Russia’s decision stemmed from CFE partners’ actions. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was brief: the alliance is disappointed.

At the 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul NATO countries declared they would ratify the adapted CFE treaty after Russia removed its troops from Georgia and Moldova. Russia complied with its part: Russian military bases left Georgia in 2005 and the 14th army was pulled out of Moldova. Yet the NATO countries under pressures from the United States still refused to ratify the CFE treaty, although it had already been approved by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Baltic countries that later entered NATO refused to join the document. Then there emerged new states in the Balkans housing US bases - and all of them are outside the CFE treaty’s framework.

Eventually Russia made up its mind to suspend its participation in the treaty. All of Moscow’s critical remarks invariably entailed the same reply: first comes the ratification of the adapted CFE treaty, and second Russia’s attitude to the treaty’s requirements. After Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia and the government coup in Kiev there is absolutely no chance of contemplating a return to the CFE regimen. But without Russia the treaty is absolutely worthless for both the United States and NATO. In 2011 they high-handedly refused to provide any information about their activities to Russia. Washington does not take the trouble to turn an attentive ear to Moscow’s opinion of security matters.

The chances of Russia’s resuming compliance with the CFE treaty look bleak. The situation has changed drastically. NATO’s eastward expansion. The deployment of US missile defense facilities in Romania and Poland. Repeated visits by US ships carrying missile defence complexes into the Black and Baltic Seas. Continued exercises in the Baltics. This is not exactly a very favorable situation for conducting talks on a new agreement. The CFE treaty’s history has come full circle.

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TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors