Statement

by the North Atlantic Council on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)

  • Press Release (2008) 047
  • Issued on 28 Mar. 2008
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  • Last updated: 15 Nov. 2010 12:14

  1. NATO Allies remain firmly committed to the CFE Treaty and wish to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation.
  2. Since 1990, the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) has provided a verifiable and legally binding framework governing the conventional armaments of the States Parties within the area of its application. Its unique system of limitations, information on military forces and opportunities for cooperative verification has resulted in an unprecedented degree of predictability, transparency and mutual confidence. The CFE Treaty, including its flank regime, has proven to be essential to building mutually beneficial and cooperative military relationships among the States Parties, helping to establish a new culture of mutually cooperative restraint in Europe.
  3. The Treaty has been successful in achieving its objectives and maintaining them for the past almost sixteen years and proven its viability during a period of fundamental political change which marked the beginning of a new era of cooperation on security and disarmament issues in Europe. To reflect these changes, the Adapted CFE Treaty was signed in 1999.
  4. Allies look forward to ratifying the Adapted CFE Treaty, in a manner consistent with the Alliance’s position of principle contained in paragraph 42 of the 2006 NATO Riga Summit Declaration, the final statement by Allies at the CFE Extraordinary Conference in Vienna and Alliance statements reflecting subsequent developments. Entry into force of the Adapted Treaty would permit accession by new States Parties, which the Alliance supports. The Adapted Treaty also reaffirms the principle that foreign forces can only be stationed on the territory of a member of the Treaty with that State’s free consent.
  5. Allies have taken careful note of concerns expressed by the Russian Federation about the conditions under which the Treaty is operating, including with regard to the flank regime, NATO equipment levels and accession to CFE. In fall 2007, the United States, with the full support of all NATO Allies, proposed to Russia a package of parallel actions, which, taken together, address all of the concerns Russia has raised with regard to CFE and related issues. All Allies are committed to this far-reaching package, which includes resolution of Russia’s commitments related to the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, and are ready to join with Russia in its implementation. The package looks ahead to entry into force of the Adapted CFE Treaty and to its subsequent review to take account of changes since 1999. It addresses the concerns of all our CFE partners. The “parallel actions” package will achieve major results.

Upon agreement by NATO and Russia on the parallel actions package:

  • NATO Allies will move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty in parallel with implementation of specific, agreed steps by the Russian Federation to resolve outstanding issues related to Russian forces/facilities in the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, as outlined in the package.
  • NATO and Russia will urge all CFE states to join in a political commitment to act in a manner consistent with the object and purpose of the Adapted CFE Treaty until it enters into force, and to observe all its equipment ceilings.
  • The NATO members that are not Parties to the CFE Treaty will publicly reiterate their readiness to request accession to the Adapted Treaty as soon as it enters into force. Following consultations with Allies, they will be open to discussions with all States Parties to the Treaty, including with Russia, on the conditions for their accession.
  • NATO and Russia will develop a definition of the term “substantial combat forces” as it is used in the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

            Once the Adapted Treaty is in force:

  • NATO Allies will review the operation of the Adapted CFE Treaty with Russia and other Treaty parties. As part of this review, we would consider changes, where possible, to the level of equipment ceilings. This would be an opportunity for all Treaty Partners including Russia to raise their concerns about any specific elements of the Adapted Treaty.
  1. We regret that the Russian Federation chose unilaterally to suspend implementation of the CFE Treaty while this important package is under discussion. Allies have continued fully to implement their obligations under the CFE Treaty in good faith. This situation cannot be sustained indefinitely. Russia’s “suspension” risks eroding the integrity of the CFE regime and undermines the cooperative approach to security which has been a core of the NATO-Russia relationship and European security for nearly two decades.
  2. We urge the Russian Federation to end its “suspension”, and to work with us to reach agreement on the basis of the parallel actions package so we can together preserve the benefits of this landmark regime.
  3. Allies remain committed to a continued dialogue with the Russian Federation that addresses all outstanding concerns in order to preserve the long term viability of the CFE regime.