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Russian deputy PM cold on troop deal, warm on chemical weapons

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Russia will honor the convention to destroy chemical weapons, but will not disclose the strength and location of its troops, a Russian first deputy prime minister said Thursday.
BRYANSK, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will honor the convention to destroy chemical weapons, but will not disclose the strength and location of its troops, a Russian first deputy prime minister said Thursday.

"We will [suspend our obligations under CFE] until all signatories ratify and enforce the treaty," Sergei Ivanov, during a visit to a chemical weapons site, said commenting on President Vladimir Putin's recent statement that Russia could unilaterally suspend its implementation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

Russia will cease to notify its CFE partners about troop movements as soon as it officially suspends enforcement of the Treaty, he said.

While the treaty was signed in 1990 to control the conventional forces of two opposing military blocs from the Atlantic to the Urals, "the Warsaw Pact is already history, and our partners still seem bloc-minded," the Russian official said.

When asked about the Chemical Weapons Convention signed in 1993 by 180 states to destroy all chemical weapons, enacted in Russia with the aid of foreign countries, Ivanov said that Russia had ratified it and would honor all its provisions.

"We need [the convention] because the stockpiling of 50-year-old munitions is unsafe," he said.

Russia recently fulfilled its provisional obligations under the CWC, destroying 20% (about 8,000 tons) of its chemical stockpiles and progressing steadily toward full destruction by May 1, 2012, in line with the Convention, Ivanov said.

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