Russia says new NATO members must ratify adopted CFE treaty
"Nobody likes it when large weapons stockpiles..."
Moscow will lift its moratorium on a major arms reduction treaty in Europe only after new NATO members ratify the adopted version of the document, Russia`s NATO envoy said on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
Russia imposed a unilateral moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty in December 2007, citing concerns over NATO`s eastward expansion and the alleged refusal of the alliance`s new members to ratify its adopted version.
"Russia has already clearly stated its position on this issue - we are waiting for countries that have recently joined NATO to ratify the adopted CFE treaty," Dmitry Rogozin said during a video link-up between Moscow and Brussels.
Moscow considers the original CFE treaty, signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members, to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.
Russia has repeatedly said it will resume its participation in the CFE if NATO countries ratify the adapted version of the treaty, signed on November 19, 1999 and so far ratified only by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"Russia, certainly, stands for preserving the mechanism of controls over armaments in Europe, and we want to know what is going on [in this respect] in other countries. Nobody likes it when large weapons stockpiles and military contingents are amassed near a country`s borders," Rogozin said.
According to the Russian envoy, Moscow demands the transparency of NATO`s eastward expansion, including such aspects as the amount of military equipment in the arsenals of new NATO members, the nature of NATO`s military infrastructure in these countries, and the potential targets of military and nuclear strikes conducted from their territories.
"We certainly know the answers to these questions, but we would like to hear these answers [from NATO] in public," Rogozin said.