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NATO Urges Russia Not To Abandon Arms Treaty

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Photo courtesy AFP.US missile plans start 'uncontrollable arms race': Russian army
Moscow (AFP) May 3 - US plans to deploy an anti-missile system in central Europe signal the start of a new "uncontrollable" arms race, the Russian army's chief of staff said on Thursday. "I believe that the deployment of US anti-missile defence in Europe is the beginning of a new round of an uncontrollable arms race," General Yury Baluyevsky said, Interfax news agency reported. Baluyevsky, who has been critical of US plans to deploy interceptor missiles and a radar in Poland and the Czech Republic, was speaking to the official Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily in an interview due to be published on Friday. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the anti-missile system increased the danger of mutual destruction and dismissed US assertions that it would defend against missiles from Iran and North Korea.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) May 03, 2007
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer urged Russia on Thursday not to abandon an important Soviet-era treaty limiting troops and military hardware in Europe, an alliance official said. Closing a meeting with Russia's NATO ambassador in Brussels, Scheffer "asked that political consultations continue and that all parties refrain from unilateral and definitive actions," the official said.

The official said the 26 NATO ambassadors at the talks "firmly and unanimously rejected signals from Russia that would call into question a treaty they consider to be very important".

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week declared a freeze on observance of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, and threatened to pull out of it all together.

In Moscow, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying: "We declared a moratorium and we will not inform anyone about movement of troops across our own territory."

He said the moratorium would last until all NATO countries ratify a revised version of the treaty, which limits deployments of tanks and troops in countries belonging to NATO and the former Warsaw Pact in eastern Europe.

The allies, who called last week for Russia to clarify its stance, insist it must first withdraw all troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia.

The NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Russian ambassador Konstantin Totsky "did not provide much more detail to explain what Putin meant when he referred to a moratorium".

But he said the ambassador "made it very clear that there was no link in Russia's mind between the CFE and missile defence", a reference to US plans, which have angered Moscow, to extend its missile shield into Europe.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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