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U.S. ready to take part in Russia-proposed CFE treaty conference-1

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The U.S. administration could take part in a conference of signatories to an arms control treaty in Europe, which was proposed by Russia, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.
(Adds para 2, background in paras 4-7)

WASHINGTON, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. administration could take part in a conference of signatories to an arms control treaty in Europe, which was proposed by Russia, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.

Russia, concerned about Europe's refusal to ratify a re-drafted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and its acceptance of U.S. missile shield plans on the continent, proposed Monday holding an emergency CFE conference in Vienna June 12-15.

Tom Casey said the United States was prepared to discuss any issues related to the treaty, which Russians would like to clarify, and in any format.

The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, the designated depository for the treaty, said earlier Tuesday the conference would be held within the next 15 days.

President Vladimir Putin suggested recently Moscow might suspend its obligations under the accord if talks with NATO countries show no visible progress in its implementation.

No NATO members have yet ratified it, demanding that Russia first withdraw from Soviet-era bases in Georgia and Moldova under the Istanbul Agreements.

The original CFE Treaty, originally designed to curb an arms race between the Communist bloc and NATO and which was amended in 1999 to heed post-Cold War realities, has so far only been ratified by Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine.

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