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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 36, April 1999

CFE Treaty Discussions

Statement by President Clinton

'Statement by the President, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 31 March 1999

"I am very pleased that yesterday negotiators from the 30 countries that are party to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) reached an agreement setting the stage for a final adapted treaty. All countries agreed to deeper limits on their conventional forces and stronger measures to insure compliance. The decision preserves NATO's ability to fulfill its post-Cold War missions, to ensure its new members are full military partners, and to deepen its engagement with Partnership for Peace states. It also takes into account the interests of non-NATO states and helps fulfill the commitment President Yeltsin and I made last September to conclude a final adapted treaty by the OSCE Summit this year.

At a time when we are trying to end a pattern of escalating insecurity, brutality and armed conflict in the Balkans, I am gratified that these 30 countries, comprising the vast majority of European nations, are moving in a different direction. Together, we are building a Europe in which armies prepare to stand beside their neighbors, not against them, and security depends on cooperation, not competition."

British Reaction

'Cooperation Furthers European Stability,' UK Ministry of Defence Press Release 100/99, 31 March 1999

"A major step forward in European arms control and confidence building was taken last night. 30 countries, including Russia, reached agreement on significant amendments to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.

The adapted CFE Treaty lowers the levels of military equipment allowed in Europe, taking account of the accession to NATO of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Treaty sets clear parameters for conventional forces and provides ground rules for equipment permitted between the Atlantic and the Urals.

Welcoming the announcement, Armed Forces Minister, Doug Henderson said:

'This is excellent news for the UK and the rest of Europe. It will lead to further reductions in permitted equipment levels, while providing the necessary flexibility to allow us to respond to crises. It is a clear example of co-operation by all the countries of Europe in the interests of the continent as a whole.

CFE remains vital to European security. The new, adapted Treaty is crucial to our efforts to build a new European security environment. UK negotiators in Vienna played a major role in brokering the new deal and I would like to congratulate them, and everyone else involved, on their successful efforts.'

The agreement was reached last night in Vienna following extensive discussions and negotiations between all 30 states which have signed the CFE Treaty."

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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