Russia declared on September 15 that "it is necessary to accelerate negotiations" on adapting the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty to the post-Cold War environment. Moscow seeks a completed treaty before the April 1999 summit at which Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are expected to be welcomed formally into NATO. That same day, NATO members endorsed a more relaxed timeline, aiming to conclude negotiations before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit late next year. Both NATO and Russia, however, have stated they would like to record progress by this December.
A.V. Grushko, head of the Russian delegation to the Joint Consultative Group (JCG)—the governing body of the CFE Treaty—also called on NATO to drop a proposal that would limit temporary deployments of tanks, armored combat vehicles and heavy artillery within the treaty's "flank zone" covering the northern and southern flanks of Europe. (See ACT, June/July 1998.) Moscow seeks to limit the NATO presence on new members' territories as the alliance expands, while NATO maintains it needs flexibility to conduct its missions and to ensure equal status for new members. The adaptation talks on the CFE Treaty have been underway since January 1997.