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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 52, November 2000

Putin Statement on CFE Treaty

Disarmament Diplomacy -- Issue No 52

Statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, November 19, 2000.

"November 19 marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, a document of key importance to the strengthening of European security... [With the signing of the Treaty,] for the first time in history... an efficient regime of control over conventional weapons was created on the scale of a whole continent an... unprecedented openness in the military sphere was ensured. The Treaty made it possible speedily and in a balanced way to reduce large amounts of superfluous weapons and hardware inherited by the participating states from the Cold War period. It helped us survive the momentous changes in Europe' military-political landscape over the past decade without any upheavals.

It can be said without exaggeration that throughout the past ten years the very existence of the CFE Treaty has confronted continuous threats. Such threats exist today, too. It is important that the participating states should continue to take care for the preservation of the regime of control over conventional armaments and should not expose that regime to dangerous tests. What I mean is attempts to subvert stability in the sphere of nuclear weapons, poorly-thought-through bloc policies, the use of force in circumvention of the UN Security Council or other actions that are contrary to the security interests of the OSCE partners.

Proper reckoning with such interests enables the parties to the Treaty to find ways out of most difficult situations. One recent example is the events in Chechnya. The Russian side thinks highly of the understanding shown for our forced measures to counter the large-scale terrorist aggression that caused a temporary heightening of flank limitations.

Unfortunately, the situation in the Northern Caucasus remains tense. In these circumstances and with due regard for the obligations assumed a year ago, we are doing everything possible to ensure the maximum transparency of our actions in defense of Russia' state interests. These actions are in no way aimed at any infringement of the national security of countries in the region but, conversely, are oriented to the gradual reduction of the armaments and hardware covered by the Treaty-imposed restrictions that are temporarily deployed in the region.

We reaffirm Russia' commitment to all the Treaty obligations, including the flank limitations, to which we will return by all means after the completion of the counter-terrorist operation.

Problems of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Georgia and Transdniestria are being resolved in accordance with the bilateral agreements reached in Istanbul and with interested support from our CFE Treaty partners.

I am confident that the earliest possible enactment of the Agreement on the Adaptation of the CFE Treaty will strengthen the viability of the Treaty and make it an efficient instrument of ensuring European security in the 21st century. There is no reason to delay the process of the ratification of the adapted CFE Treaty. This is our firm position. We are completing preparations for submitting this document for ratification by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. We have no doubt that the deputies will support it. ..."

Source: Unofficial translation, Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow, November 19 - text reproduced on Russian Foreign Ministry website, http://www.ln.mid.ru.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.