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Russia proposes changes to suspended Europe arms treaty

[JURIST] Russian Foreign Ministry [official website, in Russian] spokesperson Andrei Nesterenko said Thursday that Russia has proposed changes [statement, in Russian] to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) [text; backgrounder]. The 1990 treaty restricts the number of troops and heavy weapons that can be stationed between the Atlantic coast and Russia's Ural mountains. Russia suspended [JURIST report] its responsibilities under the CFE in November 2007 amid tensions between the US and Russia over US plans for an anti-missile defense shield in central Europe. Nesterenko said, "Russia believes that the chances of returning to the viability of the Treaty remain." He said that Russia has proposed negotiating revisions to the treaty with the US and that other NATO countries were also welcome to join in the talks.

In 1999, a newer version of the CFE was signed, but it was never ratified by NATO countries. In April 2008, then-president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin [official website; JURIST news archive] said that Russia would resume participation in the CFE [JURIST report] if Western nations ratified the 1999 version. The NATO-Russia Council has urged [statement] Russia to end its moratorium on the CFE and pledged to address the country's national security concerns.

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