Russian deputy defence minister says CFE treaty dead

File Photo of Russian Tanks on Parade

(Interfax – May 23, 2013) Russia is not planning to return to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Antonov has said, as quoted by the Russian Interfax news agency on 23 May.

“Today, Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu said clearly that this mechanism, the CFE, which we often argue about in Russia and NATO, is dead,” he said, speaking at an international conference on European security on 23 May.

The deputy minister said that at present, there are three fundamental documents on European security: the Vienna Document 2011, the Treaty on Open Skies and the CFE. The CFE is outdated and requires regulation and control of arms between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, the latter in its initial configuration, when Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia were part of the Warsaw Pact.

“We are told today that there are many constructive documents in this treaty and that Russia should return to them,” Antonov said. He also added that according to the treaty, the weapons of Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are counted in favour of Russia. “The cold war is over, we need new mechanisms,” he said.

Russia does not intend to discuss the situation in the Caucasus, Antonov said, probably referring to a Russian military base in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.

He said that when the prospects of a new treaty on conventional weapons were discussed, 90 per cent of his colleagues said they needed a pledge from Russia to withdraw from the Caucasus. “We are not going to discuss the situation in the Caucasus as part of any negotiations,” Antonov said.

According to Antonov, while preparing a new agreement, the West always seeks to establish transparency of what is happening in the Russian armed forces.

However, according to the deputy minister, the existing mechanisms are sufficient and, if necessary, Russia is ready to improve them, or add new elements.