Putin signs law suspending European arms control treaty

Updated: 2007-11-30 17:04

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the federal law temporarily suspending Russia's obligations to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, the Kremlin press service said on Friday.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks as he meets foreign ambassadors in Moscow's Kremlin, November 28, 2007. Putin has signed the federal law temporarily suspending Russia's obligations to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. [Agencies]

The law unanimously approved by both houses of the Russian parliament will become effective on December 12.

The suspension of the CFE treaty meant that Russia would temporarily stop providing information, receiving international inspectors and allowing inspections. During this period, Russia will not be bound by any commitment to conventional armaments.

Russia sees the existing CFE treaty as outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union or recent NATO expansion.

The suspension of the operation of the treaty does not imply withdrawal from it, but it freezes Russia's compliance with the treaty, Leonid Slutsky, first deputy chairman of the State Duma committee on international affairs said earlier.

"It will become an indicator of Russia's seriousness to defend the interests of ensuring its defense capability without compromise, including as response to US plans to field missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe," Slutsky said.

Having signed a decree on Russia's moratorium on CFE in July, Putin said in an explanatory note to the bill that Russia's decision to suspend the CFE treaty was "prompted by the fact that the treaty no longer meets military and political realities in Europe and therefore does not duly protect the Russian Federation's security interests."

The CFE, signed by 22 states in Paris on November 19, 1990, represented an agreement between NATO members and Warsaw Pact countries. It was aimed at establishing a balance in Europe by cutting weapons of conventional armed forces.

The treaty, which came into force on November 9, 1992, limits deployments of tanks and troops in countries belonging to the NATO and the former Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe and lays down measures aimed at confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.

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