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Experts Support European Conventional Arms Regime: Urge Governments to Prevent Treaty Collapse and Avoid New Arms Dangers

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2007
Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, (202) 463-8270 x107 and Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): In an international appeal published recently, U.S., Russian, and European former government officials and independent arms experts are urging their governments and others to bolster a treaty limiting conventional weapons in Europe and avoid actions that might imperil the regime, which fosters confidence, security, trust, and transparency across the continent. The independent Arms Control Association partnered with the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg to draft the appeal.

The appeal states that current disputes between NATO and Russia are endangering the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Indeed, Russia is moving toward a Dec. 12 suspension of the accord, which is often referred to as a cornerstone of European security. A Russian suspension would further forestall entry into force of a 1999 updated version of the CFE Treaty and, the appeal warns, could “lead to new dividing lines and confrontation.”

Negotiated near the Cold War’s end, the CFE Treaty capped the amount of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, and other heavy armaments that its states-parties could deploy between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. The agreement led to the destruction of more than 60,000 weapons and helped eliminate the possibility of large-scale surprise attacks in Europe. It also established an extensive verification regime, which the appeal notes has shown “confidence and security can be better achieved through cooperation and openness than by competition and secrecy.”

The appeal calls on CFE states-parties to “preserve the CFE regime and bring into force the Adapted Treaty as early as possible.” NATO members have conditioned ratification of the Adapted Treaty on Russia completing unfulfilled commitments to withdraw its military forces from Georgia and Moldova. The appeal recommends that “ratification by those who have not yet done so should go hand in hand with constructive new approaches to resolve current disputes,” and urges all states to “abide by core CFE principles,” which includes host-nation consent for foreign deployments.

Nearly 50 former government officials and nongovernmental arms experts have signed the appeal and the number of endorsers is growing. Signers include current and former ambassadors and arms negotiators from Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

An English copy of the appeal with a list of signers is available on the Arms Control Association’s website at www.armscontrol.org. German and Russian versions of the appeal, as well as a current list of all signers, are available on the websites of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. More information on the CFE Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty can be found at the Arms Control Association’s CFE Treaty resource section at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/ct/.

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