Newspaper: Moscow Seeking Revision Of 1990 Disarmament Treaty With PM-Russia-Politics
BONN, Germany (AP) _ Moscow is seeking changes in a landmark 1990 disarmament treaty that requires NATO and Russia to make deep cuts in their tank and artillery arsenals, a newspaper says.
Michael Schelepin, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s specialist on conventional arms disarmament, told the Berliner Zeitung on Wednesday that Russia wants to keep some tanks covered by the treaty for use in the troubled Caucasus region.
It is the first time Russia has publicly sought a revision of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe accord.
The move may be an attempt by President Boris Yeltsin, who survived a political crisis this week, to keep hard-liners in the military on his side.
″Russia is not the same after Monday″ when Yeltsin crushed parliamentary opponents, said Heinrich Vogel, head of the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies, a Cologne think tank.
After defeating his civilian rivals, Yeltsin has to be careful not to ″push the military into the opposition,″ Vogel said.
The treaty, signed by the 16 NATO nations and the six nations of the now- disbanded Warsaw Pact, called for the Soviet Union and its allies to slash tanks and other non-nuclear weapons in Europe.
Destruction of the weapons has been taking place since the accord was signed in November 1990.
It was not clear how Russia’s request would be received by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Manfred Woerner, NATO’s secretary-general, said in a Wednesday radio interview that ″we can certainly discuss questions of interpretation″ of the treaty’s terms.
But he added, in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio, ″Changing this treaty can only occur in agreement with everyone in question. At the moment I don’t see such a revision as urgent.″
Schelepin said Russia has no intention of scrapping the accord, but there must be ″an adaptation of the treaty to existing political realities,″ the Berliner Zeitung said in a telex to other news organizations.