Russia to continue dialogue on CFE Treaty : Official

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Moscow, Dec 6 (UNI) Russia today said it would continue dialogue on the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which it would suspend on December 13.

''Russia does not have plans to build up its military presence in Europe, if of course NATO members do not try to build up their military presence,'' Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Interfax news agency.

''We are ready to use all platforms, including the NATO-Russia Council, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as bilateral contacts with leading CFE Treaty signatories, for a relevant dialogue,'' Mr Grushko said.

The CFE Treaty would be discussed at the Ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on December 7, he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would participate in the meeting, he informed.

''The state of affairs of Russian-NATO relations, cooperation between Moscow and the alliance, as well as the most acute international issues, including the situation surrounding the CFE Treaty, Kosovo and Afghanistan would be discussed,'' Mr Grushko said.

''Of course, we would touch on 'painful' points of our relations with NATO, in particular the alliance's transformation and its expansion,'' he added.

He pointed out that as far the future of a Russian-NATO project on missile defence in the theater of military operations was concerned, the project, to a large extent, depends on results of the Russian-US missile defence talks.

''Of course, we cannot consider this project separately from the case of the US missile defence project,'' the minister said.

Mr Grushko said a missile defence project developed during the NATO-Russia Council could become the core of a totally new security system, which the Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about earlier.

UNI

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