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Russia says ready to discuss new European arms control treaty

Russia said Wednesday it was ready for talks on a new agreement to control conventional arms in Europe, a day after Moscow said it was quitting the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.



Moscow: Russia said Wednesday it was ready for talks on a new agreement to control conventional arms in Europe, a day after Moscow said it was quitting the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.

"We are ready to consider the possibility and conduct relevant talks about a new agreement which would meet new realities, would not be too costly, would be well thought-out, measured and which would take Russia`s interests into account, naturally," a top diplomat, Mikhail Ulyanov, told the Interfax news agency.

"We in principle admit that control over arms in Europe can be useful and we are not ready to act as grave digger of that regime," Ulyanov, the foreign ministry`s head of arms control department, said.

He added however that Russia did not see that NATO member countries were ready to discuss a new treaty.

"There are no consultations and no plans to hold them," Ulyanov said.

Russia on Tuesday said it was suspending its participation in a consulting group on a conventional arms treaty for Europe, the latest sign of deep tensions with the West.

Russia had already suspended its participation in the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) in 2007. It had however continued to take part in the consulting group related to the treaty, which was signed in 1990.

Moscow remains a signatory to the treaty limiting conventional military equipment such as tanks, aircraft and artillery and seen as a cornerstone of security in post-Cold War Europe.

The Joint Consultative Group is a Vienna-based body handling issues relating to compliance with the treaty.

Moscow said Russia`s continued membership was expensive and no longer made sense since the West had been using it to urge Moscow to resume its participation in the agreement.

Relations between Russia and the West have sunk to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War since the start of the Ukraine crisis last year.
 

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