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Putin: Russia may opt back into arms control treaty
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08:26, December 04, 2007

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia may opt back into the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE), if NATO members ratify and begin fulfilling the terms of the agreement.

"If our partners ratify this treaty after all and begin fulfilling it, we do not rule out that we will opt back into the treaty on a fully-fledged basis. But I want to reiterate that we cannot wait forever," Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

Putin signed last Friday a federal law suspending Russia's obligations to the CFE treaty.

The law unanimously approved by both houses of the Russian parliament will become effective on Dec. 12.

The suspension of the CFE treaty meant that Russia would temporarily stop providing information, receiving international inspectors and allowing inspections. During this period, Russia will not be bound by any commitment to conventional armaments.

The CFE, signed by 22 states in Paris on Nov. 19, 1990, represented an agreement between NATO members and Warsaw Pact countries. It was aimed at establishing a balance in Europe by cutting weapons of conventional armed forces.

The treaty, which came into force on Nov. 9, 1992, limits deployments of tanks and troops in countries belonging to NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe and lays down measures aimed at confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.

Russia had threatened several times to withdraw from the CFE amid tensions with the United States over U.S. plans to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Source: Xinhua

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