Interfax: Wikileaks prompted Russia to suspend Joint Consultative Group on CFE participation – Russian Foreign Ministry

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(Interfax – March 11, 2015)

Russia decided to suspend its work in the Joint Consultative Group on the CFE Treaty because it could not use this format to discuss issues relating to conventional weapons control in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said.

“When Wikileaks published secret documents, Department of State materials, what we had seen was confirmed: the U.S. had prohibited their allies from discussing any substantive issues in the Joint Consultative Group. In that situation, there was not much point in our further participation in the work of the Joint Consultative Group, it was becoming increasingly evident, and we have now decided to suspend our participation in the work of this group,” he said in an interview with Interfax.

Ulyanov said Russia decided to make an exception for the Joint Consultative Group as a dialogue site when it made a decision to suspend its participation in the CFE Treaty in 2007.

“Indeed, we hoped then that work to resume an appropriate new conventional arms control on the continent would begin,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it could not be done. The consultations on this issue were taken out of the Joint Consultative Group format. They were conducted in a Russia-U.S. format, although the Treaty was always called the ‘cornerstone’ of European security. The western Europeans in NATO essentially disassociated themselves and left it to Russia and the U.S. to decide,” the diplomat said.

Ulyanov also said that, despite the suspension of Russia’s participation in the CFE Treaty, the Treaty stays in force for the other member countries.

“The treaty remains in force and it applies to the other 29 member countries, which are fulfilling relevant procedures, functions and tasks. However, the treaty is incomplete without Russia because our country is de facto a key player and is perceived by everyone as a key player,” he said.