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MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS. Russia has decided to suspend its participation in meetings of the joint consultative group on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) from March 11, 2015, Anton Mazur, the head of the Russian delegation to Vienna talks on military security and arms control, said on Tuesday.
"For years, the Russian side has been doing its best to maintain viability of the regime of control over conventional arms, it initiated talks on adapting the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, it ratified the agreement on Adapted CFE Treaty," he said. "Regrettably, NATO countries have preferred to dodge CFE provisions by means of the alliance’s expansion and use any pretexts to prevent the Agreement on Adapted CFE Treaty from coming into effect. This course pursued despite our repeated warning about its harmful impacts on the regime of control over conventional weapons led to the unavoidable result - Russia’s suspending the CFE Treaty in 2007."
"Back then, the Russian side, taking into due account appeals from a number of the CFE Treaty signatories, decided to continue its participation in the work of the joint consultative group by way of exception," the Russian diplomat noted. "Taking this decision, we hoped that this platform would be used to work out a new regime of control over conventional arms."
But these hopes, in his words, never came true. "At NATO’s initiative, the dialogue on future regime of control over conventional arms that has been conducted in the format of the joint consultative group was stopped in 2011 and has never been resumed ever since," Mazur went on to say. "The group’s work has been literally rolled back. It was somewhat invigorated only ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe /OSCE/. Western partners are in the habit of using this platform to address Russia with ritual empty calls to get back to the old CFE Treaty which infringes upon our interests."
"In such conditions, Russia sees its further participation in meetings of the joint consultative group, which as a rule are reduced to reading out the agenda, as pointless from both political and practical points of view and as excessively costly from the financial and economic point of view," he said. "Bearing the above said in mind, Russia has taken a decision to suspend its participation in meetings of the joint consultative group from March 11, 2015. Thus, the CFE Treaty suspension declared by Russia in 2007 becomes complete."
"This step does not mean that Russia rejects further dialogue on control over conventional arms in Europe if and when our partners are ripe for that," Mazur said. "We are still ready for joint work on a new regime of control over conventional arms in Europe, which is in the interests of both Russia and other European states."
"Russia asks Belarus to represent its interests in the joint consultative group," the Russian diplomat added.