Russia, NATO disagree on CFE Treaty's ratification

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sees no obstacles for NATO ratifying the Adapted Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) he said Friday at press conference following talks with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

"We are convinced that there are no causes for delaying the ratification of the CFE Treaty's adaptation agreement," Lavrov said.

According Lavrov, NATO links the ratification beginning with Russia's implementation of the Istanbul agreements and withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia and the self-proclaimed Transdniestr Republic in Moldova.

However, Russia sees no link between these issues.

"These are bilateral issues and it is wrong to use them for hampering the ratification of the most important agreement promoting European stability and Russia-NATO trust," Lavrov said.

"NATO should have no pretexts for delaying the ratification after Russia and Georgia signed an agreement on the pullout of the Russian bases," he said.

A small group of Russian troops is currently guarding Russian ammunition in Moldova.

"The ammunition cannot be withdrawn until the Transdniestr settlement is resumed. Chisinau has radically changed its position on the settlement," Lavrov said.

Scheffer said the alliance linked the beginning of the ratification of the CFE Treaty's adaptation agreement with Russia's fulfillment of Istanbul obligations. He said Moldova and Georgia shared this position, which would remain unchanged.

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