Statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Regarding Suspension by Russian Federation of Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty)
On December 12 began the implementation of the measures flowing from Federal Law No. 276-FZ of November 29, 2007, on the Suspension by the Russian Federation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 872 of July 13, 2007, on the Suspension by the Russian Federation of its Application of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and Related International Treaties.
In practical terms this means that, at 0000 hours Moscow time, on December 12, 2007, all of Russia’s activities for implementing the Treaty and related documents was suspended.
In particular, the provision by it of information and the acceptance and conduct of inspections are brought to a halt. During the suspension period, Russia will not be bound by restrictions, including flank restrictions, on the number of its conventional weapons. At the same time we have no plans for their massive buildup or concentration on the borders with neighbors in the present circumstances. Later on, the real quantities and stationing of weapons and equipment will depend on a concrete military-political situation, particularly the readiness of our partners to show restraint.
This move was due to the exceptional circumstances pertaining to the content of the CFE Treaty affecting the security of Russia and requiring some immediate measures. Of them we had repeatedly and thoroughly told our treaty partners.
The Treaty, signed during the Cold War, has long since ceased to meet contemporary European realities and our security interests. Its adapted version has been unable to enter into force for eight years now because of the position of the NATO countries tying its ratification to the fulfillment by Russia of farfetched requirements having nothing to do with the CFE Treaty. Moreover, they undertook a number of steps incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Treaty and undermining the balances that lie at its core. Russia’s continued compliance with the Treaty in such a situation of legal uncertainty would put in jeopardy its national interests in the sphere of military security.
The suspension is not an aim in itself, but a means of endeavor by the Russian Federation to restore the viability of the conventional arms control regime in Europe, to which we see no reasonable alternative. This move is politically justified, well-grounded from the legal point of view and makes it possible, given the political will of Russia’s partners, within a fairly short space of time to resume the operation of the CFE Treaty by a decision of the President of the Russian Federation.
Our positive program to restore the viability of the CFE Treaty is well known. We voiced it at the Extraordinary Conference of the States Parties to the CFE Treaty in June 2007, and also explained it in the course of a number of multilateral and bilateral meetings with the treaty partners.
We consider that to achieve this goal it is necessary to:
- agree on how to compensate for the additional potential acquired by NATO as a result of its expansion;
- arrange the parameters for restraint in the stationing of forces on foreign territories;
- resolve on the abolition of so called flank restrictions for the territory of Russia (they hinder our common struggle against terrorism);
- ensure the participation in the Treaty of the new NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia;
- enact the adapted version of the CFE Treaty as soon as possible and without artificial conditions and embark on its further modernization.
We wait for a constructive response to these proposals, from the NATO countries in the first place. The consultations already begun with the partners confirm that a substantive, professional conversation is needed based on mutual respect and consideration for the interests of each other in the area of security.
The Russian Federation is ready to continue a result-oriented dialogue on the CFE Treaty also during the period of its suspension. We hope that such dialogue will yield its fruits, of course, if the other states parties to the Treaty show political realism and the will to search for mutually acceptable solutions.
December 12, 2007