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Treaty Revival

DW staff (win)September 13, 2007

The German government plans to host an international conference in October to discuss the future of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. It's survival is threatened since Russia decided to pull out.

A toy version of a Gepard tank
The CFE treaty aims to limit the number of real ones in EuropeImage: AP

Speaking in the German parliament on Wednesday, Sept. 12, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Germany could not permit the treaty, which is aimed at limiting conventional arms and was developed over a long period of time, to be dissolved.

"I will be just as annoyed as you if this treaty is suspended," Steinmeier told lawmakers, adding that the conference in Berlin would try to "rebuild lost trust."

The CFE treaty was signed in 1990 and updated in 1999. It limits the number of tanks, artillery, aircraft and helicopters stationed in Europe.

Russia announced in July that it no longer considered the treaty effective. Moscow said that the failure of NATO countries to ratify the latest version of the treaty was the main reason for the decision.

But Russian officials also said that a US plan to station parts of a new missile defense system in central European countries also played a role, Reuters news service reported. They consider the system a threat to Russia's national security.

NATO members, meanwhile, have said that they will not ratify the latest CFE treaty version until Russia withdraws its troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia, which Moscow promised to do in 1999 when the treaty was signed.