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Russia not withdrawing from Europe arms treaty: FM

[JURIST] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia will not raise the issue of withdrawing from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty [text; backgrounder] when it meets with other CFE Treaty signatories in Vienna next week. Lavrov's statement comes amid tension between the US and Russia over US plans to locate parts of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which Russia perceives to be a threat to Russian national security. The US has insisted that the system is intended against "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea.

Countries in NATO, including the US, have held off ratifying the amended version of the CFE treaty since 1999 over the continued basing of Russian troops in Moldova and Georgia. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] told both houses of the Russian parliament that he was suspending Russia's implementation of the CFE Treaty [JURIST report] due to what he called a US-led NATO military "build up" in Europe, and said he would explore the possibility of ending Russia's commitments under the treaty. The CFE Treaty, concluded in 1990 by the 22 members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact, regulates deployment of non-nuclear forces in Europe. Putin said Russia's moratorium would continue "until all countries of the world [sic] have ratified [the treaty] and started to strictly implement it." AP has more.

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