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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Russia's foreign minister confirmed on Thursday that the country will impose
Russia's foreign minister confirmed on Thursday that the country will impose a moratorium on application of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty on December 12.

"We will not exercise our right to withdraw from the CFE treaty," Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart.

"But we will temporarily suspend our participation in this treaty, effective December 12," he said.

The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, voted on November 7 in favor of President Vladimir Putin's bill to impose a unilateral moratorium on the CFE Treaty.

The modified version of the arms control treaty, which Western countries consider a cornerstone of European security, was signed on November 19, 1999 by all NATO countries except Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.

The original CFE treaty was signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members. The document set equal limits for the sides on five categories of conventional weapons - battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters.

Moscow considers the original CFE Treaty to be outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.

"The treaty does not make any sense anymore, because all former Warsaw Pact countries, except Russia, have become NATO members since then," Lavrov said.

"In these circumstances, if Russia continued to meet its obligations under the treaty, it would look as if we are lacking mental ability and self respect," the minister said.

Lavrov reiterated that the upcoming moratorium does not stipulate that Russia will permanently pull out of the CFE Treaty, and will resume its implementation as soon as NATO countries ratify the adapted version.

Before the moratorium comes into effect on December 12, it has to be approved by the upper house of parliament, expected to vote on the issue on November 16, and signed into a law by the Russian president.


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