A Pentagon spokesman says the United States would be "disappointed"
if Russia stopped meeting its obligations under the Conventional Forces in
Europe Treaty. The comment came the day after Russia called for a meeting of the
treaty's signatory nations next month. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the
At his daily briefing, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman responded to
President Putin's call for a meeting. "The U.S. position on this is that we
would be disappointed at any suggestions that Russians might cease to implement
its obligations under the CFE Treaty. NATO, as you know, places a high value on
the treaty's contribution to European security," he said.
At the State Department, a spokesman told reporters the Conventional Forces
treaty has served the international community well, but that it is Russia's
right to call a meeting and U.S. officials will be happy to attend.
President Putin wants a meeting on June 12 in Vienna.
The 1990 treaty regulates the size and composition of conventional military
forces in Europe. It resulted in a reduction of Cold War era forces facing off
against each other on the continent. The treaty was amended in 1999, but some
countries have refused to ratify the amended version until Russia withdraws its
forces from Georgia and Moldova.
Russia rejects the idea of connecting those two issues, but has
suspended its participation in the treaty and has threatened to withdraw
from it permanently. The statement on Monday calling for the meeting said Russia
has been adhering to the amended treaty, while other signatories have refused to
ratify it. The statement also cites the expansion of NATO into areas formerly
under the influence of the Soviet Union.
Russia's concerns about the treaty are also widely seen as related to its
opposition to U.S. plans to put parts of its new missile defense system in
Poland and the Czech Republic.
The White House reports President Bush and President Putin spoke about
several issues during a phone conversation on Monday, but did not say whether
missile defense or the Conventional Forces treaty were among them. The two men
will meet next week in Germany during the annual Group of Eight