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Russia says no immediate military build up after CFE moratorium

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Russia will not immediately increase the strength of its Armed Forces after its unilateral moratorium on a key arms reductions treaty comes into effect on December 12, the chief of the General Staff said Thursday.
WASHINGTON, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will not immediately increase the strength of its Armed Forces after its unilateral moratorium on a key arms reductions treaty comes into effect on December 12, the chief of the General Staff said Thursday.

Russia's law suspending its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty officially came into force on December 3. The moratorium itself will take effect on December 12.

"We are not going to increase the strength of our Armed Forces, let's say, tomorrow," Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, who is currently on a visit to the United States, told a news conference in Washington.

Moscow considers the original CFE treaty, signed in December 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members, to be discriminatory and outdated since it does not reflect the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the breakup of the Soviet Union, or recent NATO expansion.

Baluyevsky said the moratorium would "remove discriminatory flank limitations under the treaty," and "untie Russia's hands on its own territory," as much as the CFE treaty allows NATO to freely re-deploy its forces anywhere in Europe.

Speaking about the U.S. missile shield in Europe, Baluyevsky reiterated that Russia and the United States had made no progress in talks on the subject since the October 12 meeting in a '2+2' format in Moscow.

"As to missile defense, we have not moved a step out of the deadlock [in negotiations]," Baluyevsky said.

The U.S. plans to deploy a radar and a missile base in Central Europe purportedly to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states. Moscow opposes the plans saying they pose a threat to its security. Despite a series of talks on the issue, the countries have failed to reach a compromise.

"Our position is simple - let's first make a joint assessment of potential threats before deploying a radar in the Czech Republic or missiles in Poland," Baluyevsky said, adding that Russia could use all available expertise and capabilities to help make this assessment.

Russia has already offered the U.S. use of radar stations at Gabala in Azerbaijan, and Armavir in south Russia, as alternatives to missile shield deployment in Central Europe.

Washington said, though, it could use these radars only as additional components of the European shield.

Despite the disagreements on key European security issues, during Baluyevsky's current visit to the U.S., Moscow and Washington signed a memorandum on bilateral military cooperation and the interoperability of their respective Armed Forces for 2008.

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