Lavrov calls for talks on conventional arms control

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on foreign leaders on Friday to begin negotiations on conventional arms control to overcome a stalemate in the sphere.

During a Russia-NATO Council meeting at the level of foreign ministers in Berlin, Lavrov discussed the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“This regime has been in a very deep deadlock. We are interested… in beginning talks to overcome the existing situation,” Lavrov said after the talks.

Russia has long been calling on NATO countries to ratify the adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty), signed in 1999 and so far ratified only by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The original CFE Treaty was signed in 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members and came into force in 1992. The treaty set equal ceilings for each bloc on five key categories of conventional armaments and military hardware, including tanks, combat armored vehicles, artillery, assault helicopters and combat aircraft.

The CFE Treaty played a crucial stabilizing role during the breakup of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern Europe. However, the later document became largely outdated and irrelevant amid large-scale changes in the military and political environment.

Russia imposed a unilateral moratorium on the CFE treaty in December 2007, citing concerns over NATO’s eastward expansion, U.S. missile defense plans for Europe, and the alleged refusal of the alliance’s new members to ratify the adapted treaty. Moscow has repeatedly said it will resume its participation in the CFE if NATO member states ratify the adapted treaty.

BERLIN, April 15 (RIA Novosti)

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